Just days ago, Jeff Smith – the Labour MP for Manchester Withington – posted a smiling selfie with a disgraced councillor who is currently under numerous investigations for inciting violence against women.
Paul is under investigation from Manchester City Council, the Labour Party and Greater Manchester Police after comments surfaced describing women as “slobs”, “cows”, “b*tches” and “c*nts”, and encouraged the use of physical violence.
A variety of other complaints also accused him of misogyny, anti-semitism, homophobia and sexism.
Smith’s post, accompanied with a grinning selfie, read: “At the Ladybarn Park fun day with… Chris P … in the glorious manchester sunshine.”
At the Ladybarn Park fun day with @rebecca_moore_ Chris P @james_m_wilson @crispeater @gavinwhite76 in the glorious manchester sunshine. Thanks to Pauline et al for a lovely day – but now it’s Messi time… pic.twitter.com/7LlDnYW8TP
— Jeff Smith (@JeffSmithetc) June 30, 2018
The post has been met with heavy criticism and demands for an apology.
The Liberal Democrats, who snapped at the heels of Chris Paul in the 2018 local elections, have condemned the Labour MP for “endorsing his appalling views.”
April Preston, who grew up in a Manchester care home and sits as a trustee of the Manchester Autistic Society, stood against Paul earlier this year and trailed behind by fewer than 500 votes.
She said Labour’s inaction was an “insult to local people’s integrity.”
“This is how much Labour take Withington for granted – we are being represented by someone who believes women are ‘slobs’ and ‘cows’ – and now our Labour MP is endorsing him.
“Having lived and grown up in Withington my whole life, I know the decent and hard-working families around here would be disgusted to see these comments, and horrified to see the Labour party endorsing those views.
“These are not the kind of comments parents want their children growing up around – he is not fit to serve local people and this is an insult to local people’s integrity.”
John Leech, the Leader of the Opposition, said Paul’s position in the town hall was “untenable” and claimed he should be kicked out.
He also demanded an apology from Smith: “Jeff should delete the post and apologise for endorsing Paul and his appalling, misogynistic and abusive views.”
A spokesman for the council’s Labour group said: “He has been given a first and final warning for the tones of these tweets. These postings are not acceptable from a Labour councillor in Manchester.”