A Conservative councillor who called Sunderland a ‘post-apocalyptic ****hole’ has been made press officer for the city’s branch of the party.
Antony Mullen had his membership temporarily revoked ahead of the May 3 local elections, but was reinstated following his polling day victory in Barnes, which saw him elected to Sunderland City Council (SCC).
It was confirmed today the new Coun Mullen had been appointed to the position.
Asked whether he had volunteered for the role or been nominated, he said he had been ‘told not to disclose that’.
However, when the same question was put to Coun Robert Oliver, Sunderland’s Conservative leader, he said he had ‘suggested the role’ for Coun Mullen, but refused to go into further detail, other than to say it was an ‘internal group issue’.
“The Conservative Party had a full investigation into the allegations about Antony,” said Coun Oliver.
“It was an internal investigation so we can’t say what the findings were, other than that the national party decided to lift his suspension.
“He has apologised so we feel it’s fair to move on and allow him to take a full role as a councillor.”
Coun Mullen is one of two councillors elected to SCC at the last round of local elections while suspended from their parties over offensive social media posts.
During campaigning, the Liberal Democrats discovered tweets posted between 2011-14, before he joined the Conservative Party, in which he called Sunderland a ‘post-apocalyptic ****hole’ and Labour MP Diane Abbott a ‘filthy, bulbous pig’.
It was confirmed yesterday this week that Lynn Appleby, who was elected in the Sandhill ward, would not be allowed to sit with the Liberal Democrat ‘party badge’ following an investigation into her conduct.
Asked whether he thought he was an appropriate choice for the role, Coun Mullen said: “I think it’s perfectly possible to communicate on a factual basis, which I think is what the Conservative Party and journalists want.
“”I’m not necessarily of the view that the public will have a view, I think with it being an internal role, there won’t be a view.
“There was no public backlash when I was knocking on doors, a lot of people said it was ridiculous that they had dug things up from years ago.”
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service