Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

UUP man sorry for Anna Lo Twitter remarks

Ulster Unionist MLA Michael Copeland
Ulster Unionist MLA Michael Copeland

AN MLA has offered to apologise to Alliance's Anna Lo after comments which could be viewed as racist were put on Twitter.

But a former voluntary worker for Ulster Unionist Michael Copeland admitted he posted the remarks in the MLA's name.

The man, who now lives in New York, took to Facebook to say: "I wrote the comment... and the simple truth is that (it) referred to the Alliance party colours, which are yellow, rather than Ms Lo being born in Hong Kong."

The original message read: "A while back we asked what happened when you vote yellow? Well maybe it's more of a yellowish green?" The man added: "There was never then or now any reference to a person or their background – merely their politics.

"However, I realise that in this media-driven world that comments need to be careful so that insinuations cannot be made, and because this comment has been turned into something that it was not, I do apologise for the embarrassment that (it) has caused Ms Lo, Mr Copeland, their constituents, and will meet with anyone to address the issues further."

East Belfast MLA Mr Copeland said, however, he accepted responsibility for the comment, since the ex-employee had set up his social media.

The message, posted at 4am – 11pm New York time – linked to a newspaper report on Ms Lo's recent comments that a united Ireland would be "better econ- omically, socially and politically".

Mr Copeland said: "I would like to think Anna Lo knows me well enough to know I do not have a single prejudiced view. But if Anna does feel she has been insulted I will speak to her face to face in the Assembly on Monday and apologise."

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