A social media spat broke out on Remembrance Sunday after Momentum claimed Brexit Party used laying of wreath to 'score political points'
A spat broke out on social media on Remembrance Sunday after Labour-affiliated Momentum South Tyneside accuse the Brexit Party of using the laying of a wreath to ‘score political points’.
After Brexit Party candidate for South Shields, Glenn Thompson, placed a wreath at the Westoe War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday he posted a picture and quote on Twitter.
Momentum South Tyneside then took to the social media platform to accuse the party of using the day of remembrance to ‘score political points’ by putting the Brexit logo on their wreath.
The organisation tweeted: “Very disappointing that @GlennThompsonBP @brexitparty_uk used today of all days to score political points.”
A spat between members of the public then broke out on Twitter – although Mr Thompson did not reply to the accusations.
Official guidance from the Royal British Legion says political, religious and cultural groups can choose to distinguish or personalise their wreaths to identify their acts of remembrance.
Now, speaking to the Gazette, South Shields Brexit party candidate has responded to the tweet calling it ‘disappointing’ and that it tarnishes the meaning of Remembrance Day.
Glenn Thompson, who is also an independent councillor for South Tyneside Council, said: “I am ex-army and a lot of our campaign team are ex-military and a lot of the guys said they wanted to do something for Remembrance.
“The guys asked if we could put a wreath down – we were very aware that none of us wanted to make any political statement and it was a decision to simply write nothing political at all.
“It was really shocking to see the tweet by Momentum effectively it was themselves trying to score points.
“I didn’t want to tarnish the day at all. I didn’t post anything in response on my Twitter. It’s just disappointing, there was a lot of support for us about the situation.
“We did put a tweet out to show that we had done the wreath laying but it was agreed not to get involved at all.
“If I could press a button to just take away any negativity from Remembrance Sunday I would.
“This, to me, is a day of reflection.”
It has been reported that a memo was sent to all political parties from the Royal British Legion asking to “ensure that no election candidates or Ministers are seen to use their involvement with a Legion event or facility to party political or personal advantage.
“This means taking reasonable steps not to promote their involvement with the public and encouraging them similarly not to benefit personally from their involvement, for instance by using any associated images on election material."
When asked by the Gazette about their policy on party logo’s on wreaths, a spokesman for the Legion said: “Many political, religious and cultural groups choose to distinguish or personalise their wreaths when placing them at war memorials to identify their act of Remembrance.”
The Gazette contact Momentum South Tyneside and the organisation does not wish to make further comment.