AN MP who labelled football fans ‘scumbag hooligans’ has come under fire from all sides.
Thousands of Sunderland fans gathered in Covent Garden last night, ahead of today’s Capital One Cup final clash with Manchester City.
Tory MP Robert Halfon sparked fury when he posted a picture of litter in the streets on social media site Twitter and wrote: “Went to London for dinner. Wish I hadn’t. Scumbag football hooligans turn Covent Garden into a disgusting Cesspit.”
But the member for Harlow and the villages soon found himself at the centre of an on-line firestorm and facing criticism from his own party.
Sunderland Conservative councillor Lee Martin wrote: “Nice to see @halfon4harlowMP has labelled the 5000 Sunderland fans in Covent Garden last night scumbags and hooligans. Idiot.”
Mr Halfon denied his attack has been aimed exclusively at Sunderland fans, and replied: “police officer told me 6 clubs were in area,so I had no idea who were responsible . That is why I did not identify clubs.”
But Coun Martin told him to say sorry. “Just apologise. You’re making yourself look like an idiot and embarrassing every blue collar Tory in the NE.”
Other Twitter users questioned whether Mr Halfon would have been similarly critical of the mess left behind after other events.
The Times football writer Tony Barrett posed a picture of the debris left after New Year’s Eve celebrations, with the question: “London after New Years Eve - “scumbag New Year revellers” or just not enough bins?”
And freelance writer Daniel Storey posted a link to details of the clean-up operation after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, with the comment: “30 tonnes of rubbish on streets after diamond jubilee. Scumbag jubilee hooligans?”