The Liberal Democrat candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington has been suspended after offensive tweets were uncovered by Eastlondonlines,
Ben Mathis has said he is now standing as an independent Liberal. The tweets included derogatory language and slurs and sparked complaints from Twitter users.
A Liberal Democrats spokesperson said to Eastlondonlines: “Over the weekend we received a number of complaints relating to tweets posted in the past by Ben Mathis, our candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington in the upcoming general election. The party has taken the decision to suspend Ben pending further investigation.”
“Public posts on his Twitter account between 2011 and 2018 have been drawn to our attention that are clearly offensive, including about those with protected characteristics. “
After offering an official apology, Mathis took to Twitter to say: “After 13 years as a Lib Dem, I find myself without a party and with a slightly garish new header image.”
On his Twitter profile he has outlined his three aims: “Stop Brexit, tackle the climate emergency and an uncompromising voice for Hackney.”
Additionally, he has a new display icon, where he is standing next to a LGBTQ+ flag with a star of David.
Mathis teased that if you went on his Grindr page, you’d find similar material to his Twitter archive, and then went on to post a thread about his feelings towards his removal. He expressed how he felt mistreated by the Liberal Democrats.
He ended his series of tweets with “Oh and @joswinson – can you lend me a torch? It’s a bloody dark under this bus.”
Mathis will continue his campaign and told Eastlondonlines: “I’ll be attending hustings where I’m invited and otherwise making myself available for questions from the public. I certainly don’t have the money for mailshots. In terms of policy, one of the reasons I’m still running is that I believe in Liberal values and policies and nobody else left in the race deserves a vote… I’m running on the Liberal Democrat manifesto.”
His campaign will also discuss more “controversial topics such as drug reform, trans rights, and availability of PrEP.”
The seat is held for Labour by Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, who has a majority of 35,000.