A MAGISTRATE at the centre of a racism twitter storm has stepped down.
Nick Harrington, who sat at Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington for more than six years, caused uproar when he tweeted live during the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night (May 13).
The tweet he sent out – before deleting his account due to backlash on the social media site – said: “Thanks Ireland. You can keep your ******* gypsies! Hard border coming folks!”
It is believed to have been sent after Irish judges failed to give any points to the UK entry Lucie Jones.
Following the tweet Mr Harrington – who is also a director of Leamington-based Ambay Software – has resigned from his voluntary position as a magistrate.
A spokesman for the judiciary said: “Mr Harrington resigned with immediate effect and will no longer sit as a magistrate.”
Police are investigating whether the tweet could be construed as a hate crime.
And now Mr Harrington has also stepped down from his role as a councillor. He held the Cubbington and Stoneleigh seat on Warwick District Council but was indefinitely suspended from Warwick Conservative Group pending an investigation.
Mr Harrington said: “While watching the Eurovision Song Contest, I thoughtlessly sent a tweet which caused considerable offence to both members of the traveller community and to those of Irish heritage. I apologise unreservedly. My comments about the Irish border were also foolish.
“I am devastated I have caused these events and apologise unreservedly for the offence I have caused.”
Twitter users were quick to take to the site to voice their outrage at Mr Harrington’s tweet.
Daniel Browne, who is founder of festival Warwickshire Pride, said: “Absolutely disgraceful tweet and racism from councillor Nick Harrington. He should be removed from his position immediately.”
And Yvonne MacNamara, chief executive of Traveller Movement – a charity working with Irish traveller communities – said: “The comments by Nick Harrington are nothing short of disgraceful. We will push to ensure he receives the strongest possible penalties for his actions.”