A leading figure from the youth wing of the Conservative party has been told to leave Birmingham by the Tory mayor of the West Midlands for describing the city as a “dump”.
In a public rebuke, Andy Street told Daniel Grainger, the chair of Young Conservative Network (YCN), to leave Birmingham – and to “take anyone with the same views with you”.
It came after Grainger insulted the city, which is hosting this week’s Conservative party conference, on Twitter, writing in a now deleted post: “Birmingham is a dump.”
In response, Street wrote: “Off you pop then, and take anyone with the same views with you. Try and take some time to grow up and understand just why this city is so special whilst you’re gone.”
He added: “I may be a Conservative, but I’m also a bloody proud Brummie. I won’t have anyone who’s never lived or breathed this place trying to put us down.”
Jess Phillips, the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, also reacted, writing: “I see the Tories doing their best to endear themselves.”
Grainger later apologised to Street and his party for his “ill-conceived comments”, adding that it was “not about the city or its people”, and claiming that somebody had threatened to mug him.
He wrote: “My tweet in relation to Birmingham was not about the city or its people. I’ve always enjoyed my visits to your city, but this morning I was greeted by an individual who threatened me with a mugging.
“I was angry and tweeted without thinking, I apologise for any offence caused.”
He added: “I’d also like to directly apologise to Andy Street, the Conservatives and other representatives of Birmingham for my ill-conceived comments. I have now deleted the tweet.”
In response, Phillips said that she hoped the police had been informed and that she appreciated the apology, adding: “We are used to classless views about our allegedly ‘godawful’ home, so we will get over it with humour and gentle ribbing. It is our way.”
The comments came as the Conservatives attempt to reset themselves after an unprecedentedly turbulent week for the prime minister’s new government, in which the pound tumbled following the chancellor’s mini-budget. Britain’s biggest rail strike in decades and cost of living protests across the country are taking place on the eve of the party conference.