Neil Coyle says a series of much-criticised and now-deleted tweets were misinterpreted and did not aim to attack all Brexiteers – just the architects of the ‘ailing project’.
After initially telling the News anyone who didn’t like his approach could simply unfollow him, Coyle later issued an apology admitting the crude rant fell far short of the standards expected of an MP.
As reported last week, Coyle had posted a series of offensive comments on Twitter over the Rule, Britannia! lyrics row and Brexit.
The Bermondsey MP replied to a video with Nigel Farage singing along saying: “If you didn’t hate it before, feel free to hate the song now. I’ve never known anyone but sh*tlickers like it tbh”.
He then seized on a tweet from Jacob Rees-Mogg whom, in reference to the BBC’s decision to only play instrumental versions of the song, had said: “Britons must never be enslaved by political correctness.”
Coyle replied with: “I have spent years warning local people that these fat old racists won’t stop blaming the EU when their sh*t hits the fan.
“Here they come blaming others. Absolute sh*tbag racist wankers.”
Despite the fact it was unclear who exactly these ‘fat old racists’ were in the bizarre posts, this week Coyle argued that his key message had been misinterpreted.
The MP told this newspaper he was ‘disappointed’ that our coverage implied he was attacking all who voted leave.
“I was quote tweeting Jacob Rees-Mogg when I suggested that the leaders of this ailing project were never going to take responsibility for the problems Brexit will cause our country,” he claimed.
“Today is a case in point, with peace and – what has been – growing prosperity in Northern Ireland being thrown under a bus by the same leaders who deceitfully claimed they had an ‘oven-ready deal’.
“They made promises they knew could never be delivered throughout, but they will not admit their deceit or the damage it does our country, people’s jobs and opportunities, instead looking to blame others whilst all the time pretending to be more patriotic when they undermine our international standing and risk the very future of the United Kingdom.”
Despite being rounded on by members of his own party and leave and remain voters alike, Coyle – who says he has relatives who voted for Brexit – insists he would never apply the same label to voters as he would the ‘incompetent leaders of this national deceit’.
Deteriorating relationship between Coyle and Corbyn revealed in new book
The publication of a new book charting the lead up to Jeremy Corbyn’s crashing fall in last year’s general election has revealed the extent of the party’s dysfunction – including his deteriorating relationship with Neil Coyle.
In Left Out, by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire, published this month, new details have emerged of the chaos at the heart of Labour’s fractured campaign, including alleged abuse and intimidation towards Corbyn by MPs.
Among its revelations is the leaked text correspondence, mostly one-sided, between Corbyn and Coyle, with the Bermondsey MP repeatedly berating Corbyn over his handling of anti-Semitism, bullying, and Brexit.
The messages have won fans from some, with supporters claiming they show Coyle’s commitment to the party and his voters, while others – including Southwark’s Momentum branch – have blasted them as outright bullying and abuse.
In one message, Coyle says: “My borough also has elections next May and sitting councillors are quitting because of your damage and because of the people who claim to speak for you locally who will cost us votes.
“I have no idea how you sleep at night but I hope, given the damage you’re doing really good people, that it’s really badly.”
Speaking to the News this week, Coyle said: “I have always put serving the people of Bermondsey and Old Southwark ahead of being a Party stooge.
“I made a very clear promise to local people when first elected and have kept it: I’ll never vote for anything that harms our community. This includes within Labour as well as at Westminster.
“It is no secret that I did not think Jeremy Corbyn was up to the job of being Labour leader or prime minister.
“I was asked to raise concerns with him privately and not publicly by his own team.”
He added that he sent 38 texts to him throughout a period of 180 weeks, including messages about the London Bridge terror and events at Westminster.
“Some messages reveal the exasperation felt with Mr Corbyn’s continual, poor performance and disastrous leadership,” he said.
“Corbyn failed to respond to most messages, failed to listen to or address anyone’s concerns, and ultimately failed before the electorate in December.”