Councillor Charlie Edwards, the cabinet member for Highways and Transport at Lancashire County Council has issued an official apology after some offensive tweets from 2011 and 2012 have resurfaced.
A member of the public had found the tweets, which were made over a decade ago, containing homophobic and fatphobic language, and issued a formal complaint yesterday.
Once he had been made aware of the tweets, Cllr Edwards, who was only elected into office in 2017, immediately deleted them and tweeted an apology.
The complainant said: "I am filing a formal complaint against Conservative Lancashire county councillor Charlie Edwards for tweeting a transphobic slur and [he] made a joke about two Irish gay men and fat shamed someone.
"I am part of the LGBTQ+ community and to see someone of authority use these discriminatory remarks is disheartening and upsetting."
In a statement sent to the Post today, Cllr Edwards, a Conservative councillor for Morecambe South, said: "As soon as I was made aware of these tweets, I was gutted and completely embarrassed and deleted them immediately. I apologise for any offence caused.
"The tweets are from 2012, when I was at university. In 2012, I was also tweeting my support of same sex marriage. Sadly only the negative tweets have been sent to journalists.
"Since I have been elected onto the Council, I have been an active advocate of women’s and LGBT* rights, supported the Pride Festivals in Lancaster and Morecambe and I want my career to be defined by my actions in power, not digging up things I said ten years ago when I was 19 years old."
A Lancashire County Council spokesperson said: “Lancashire County Council is committed to equality for all our citizens and believe that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. Councillors are expected to maintain the highest standards in public life and must abide by the council's code of conduct when representing the authority. However these tweets were made before Councillor Edwards was elected to Lancashire County Council so do not fall under the code. Councillor Edwards has apologised for the tweets and has deleted them.”
Cllr Edwards added that he is an advocate of the Lancaster-based charity, LGBT Out in the Bay, that works with LGBTQI people & young adults, people who misuse drugs and alcohol, and those living with long-term sexual health conditions, and he hopes that this story can raise awareness of their vital work.