Preston Conservatives investigating after election candidate tweets about the "creamy, buttery" smell of "girls 16 to...23"

The Conservative Party in Preston has launched an investigation after a defeated candidate in this month’s local elections tweeted about the “creamy, buttery” smell of girls and women in their late teens and early 20s.

Monday, 23rd May 2022, 2:05 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2022, 4:21 pm

The tweet – which emanated from an account seeming to belong to Ribbleton ward Tory hopeful Jonty Campbell – was posted on Saturday evening.

A screenshot of it was subsequently shared on the social media platform by the associate editor of the Tribune magazine, Marcus Barnett. That post has since been retweeted more than 9,000 times, attracting a chorus of condemnation directed at the original remarks.

Mr. Campbell’s initial tweet read: “Here’s the thing with girls 22 or under, they smell massively different to a girl of 28. Girls 16 to, say, 23 have this creamy, buttery, slightly sweet smell that is unbelievably magnetic.”

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The vote count for the Preston City Council elections at the Guild Hall earlier this month - Jonty Campbell stood in the Ribbleton ward

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His Twitter account, @CmdrJonty, was set to private as of Sunday afternoon – it is unclear whether his tweets had always been private – but by Monday morning the account had been deleted altogether.

As a result, what was described by one Twitter user as Mr. Campbell’s “version of a mea culpa” was no longer available to view.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) has attempted to contact Jonty Campbell via the Preston Conservative Association to offer him the chance to comment and to confirm the veracity of the original tweet.

A screenshot of the tweet which has caused the Conservative Party in Preston to launch an investigation

Mr. Campbell stood for election to Preston City Council in the safe Labour seat of Ribbleton on 5th May – the sixth time in eight years that he has attempted to secure a place on the authority. He received 251 votes, losing by over 400 votes to veteran Labour councillor Jonathan Saksena, who has served the city since 1984.

Cllr Sue Whittam, leader of the Tory opposition group on Preston City Council – and who was not involved with the candidate selection process – told the LDRS: “I don’t think [such comments] should be expected of anybody – certainly of a candidate – but nobody should be posting stuff like that.”

The Tory ward councillor for Ingol and Cottam, Trevor Hart, said that the tweet was “not the behaviour or comments we’d expect from anybody in the party”.

He added: “It falls well below any acceptable standard and we certainly wouldn’t associate ourselves with that sort of comment.”

Mr. Campbell had previously been listed on the Preston Conservatives website as deputy chair of campaigning, but that page had been taken down as of Monday morning.

Andrew Pratt, chairman of Preston Conservatives, said in a statement: “The current tweet from @commanderJonty is being investigated and a further statement will follow.

“This language and opinion about women and girls is completely unacceptable.”

A spokesperson for the Labour Party in Preston said of the tweet: “Anyone who knows Jonty takes anything he says with a very large pinch of salt; he has a history of bizarre political and non-political social media posts – but this one is creepy in the extreme.

“We cannot understand why the local Tories keep selecting him and others whose views are on the extremes of society.”

Cllr John Potter, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the city council, echoed that sentiment.

“It’s such a weird, creepy thing to write – even if it was intended as a joke.

“It’s one sleaze scandal after another at the moment for the Conservatives. I doubt we’ll see him stand again in local elections,” Cllr Potter added.

As well as Ribbleton at this year’s local poll, Mr. Campbell has fought for election to Preston City Council in the wards of Plungington (2019), Tulketh (2018), Deepdale (2016), Moor Park (2015) and University (2014).

The Independent newspaper reported that his tweet on Saturday was in response to a post about a man who had left his partner for a 22-year-old Ukrainian refugee.