Northern Ireland

Ex-TUV candidate tweets race support

A former TUV candidate has given her support to the seven men sacked by the HMRC for racially discriminating against ethnic minorities.

Ann Cooper, from East Belfast, stood unsuccessfully for the party in the Castlereagh by-election this year.

On her Twitter account she said: "Well done lads. Sorry you got caught. You deserve a medal. We need more like you."

She posted a link to the HMRC story and made the comments on Wednesday.

On Thursday Ms Cooper told the BBC she left the TUV party last month "because my views are very strong and I didn't want to embarrass the party or Mr Allister".

"This is a democracy and people are entitled to have opinions and express them.

"People in this country are sick of ethnic minorities coming here and getting things ahead of us.

Disclaimer

"They will this isn't the case but it is."

Referring to her Twitter remarks, TUV party leader Jim Allister said: "I don't endorse those comments.

"I can understand why people get frustrated about the benefits system but it is not for anyone to take the law into their own hands."

Ms Cooper's Twitter account continues to carry the disclaimer that her views are her own and do not represent those of the TUV.

On Wednesday, seven Revenue and Customs staff were sacked for deliberately under-paying benefits to ethnic minorities. Two had earlier resigned.

It followed an internal investigation into nine men based at the HM Revenue and Customs call centre in Belfast.

They are believed to have tampered with computer records to ensure ethnic minorities living across the UK did not receive the benefits they were entitled to. All have now been fully reimbursed.

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