UKIP denies tweeting that World AIDS Day is a ‘reminder’ to ‘tighten our borders’
UKIP is in complete confusion over a Twitter account that claimed to represent its Cheltenham branch and said World AIDS Day was a “reminder” for Britain to “tighten” its borders.
Yesterday, the account @UKIPCheltenham made a series of posts in relation to the HIV epidemic, suggesting the issue was British women throwing “themselves at African men unknowingly” and that HIV “was not a problem” in the 1970s “when Britain had British values.”
Following a widespread backlash over the remarks, a tweet today apparently revealed the account was being run by a volunteer called ‘Matthew’, in support of UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for Cheltenham, Christina Simmonds.
A Cheltenham UKIP spokesperson said the Twitter account did not represent an official branch of the party. The membership secretary of UKIP Cheltenham, John Hopwood, told the Gloucester Citizen: “We categorically deny that this is anything to do with Cheltenham UKIP.
“We do not have a Twitter account. We have checked and this is nothing to do with anyone in the Cheltenham party, so this is some sort of troll account.”
UKIP Cheltenham released a statement on its Facebook page saying: “A fake Twitter account has been set up in the name of UKIP Cheltenham that has nothing to do with the local Branch or the National Party and reflects the views of neither. Suzanne Evans reported yesterday that there seem to be a campaign of setting up such accounts to try and discredit UKIP and generate bad press.”
But the confusion continued when The Mirror contacted UKIP’s Cheltenham branch secretary Martin Leonard to ask him if the @UKIPCheltenham account was genuine.
He replied: “Yes, it is run by the Membership Secretary on behalf of the Branch Committee.”
UKIP national spokesman John Gill then said the account was “fake”.
“It’s a fake,” he said. “It was set up three days ago.
“There’s been a number of fake accounts set up recently,” he added.
When quizzed why Mr Leonard confirmed the account was real, Mr Gill suggested age may have played a part in the confusion.
“I think he’s made a mistake here,” Mr Gill said.
“I’ve spoken to the chairman and the candidate and even before they knew what the story was they said they don’t have a Twitter account.
“They have a website and a Facebook and that’s it.”
He added: “We have a lot of quite elderly people working for us, who may not understand the difference between Facebook and Twitter.”
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