A Tory MP was forced into an embarrassing U-turn last night, after an attempt to score petty party political points over road safety.
Chris Philp, the Conservative MP for Croydon South, was widely criticised on social media after he tweeted a picture of a car which had crashed into and damaged a 20mph road sign in the borough, part of the Labour council’s policy to make Croydon’s streets safer.
The photograph Philp used had been provided by Andy Stranack, a Tory councillor for Heathfield ward.
“Looks like Croydon Council’s 20mph limit is not working out as planned,” Philp wrote on Twitter.
The sly, off-hand attitude to road safety was roundly condemned, first by members of the public, and later by Labour councillors..
“What a deeply irresponsible tweet, especially from someone in a position of authority,” Stuart King, the Labour council cabinet member in charge of road safety who has steered the 20mph policy in throughout the borough.
“I hope @CPhilpOfficial will reflect on the deaths and injuries that occur on Croydon roads and quickly apologise for being so glib about such an important issue.”
Another Labour councillor, Sean Fitzsimons, observed, “Seems he and his @CroydonTories colleague @AndyStranack delight in dangerous driving.”
On Twitter, others criticised Philp for his attitude: “In my opinion it is typical for people like you to criticise other people’s efforts. Concentrate on what you need to be doing, it’s what we pay you to do. You are a member of an elite club destroying our country. Bricks and Glass houses,” wrote Grant Melton, a professional photographer who travels many miles each week on the roads in and around Croydon in the course of his work.
“Disgusting behaviour by my MP,” wrote another. “He should be ashamed.”
They added: “If when driving you hit a child at 20mph they are likely to survive with minor injuries. At 30mph the child has an 80 per cent chance of survival At 40mph @CroydonTories will mock the child’s death, blame the parents, deride the Council and police and ask the driver to vote Conservative.”
Another wrote of Philp’s tweet: “As unfunny as it is irresponsible.”
Another said, directing her comments at the MP: “I have no idea why you are against improving road safety and reducing deaths on roads. Road safety is not something to joke about.”
And another said, “I think the 20mph limit is a great idea… Safety first, not just any excuse for a pop at the opposition please.”
Philp later deleted his tweet, presumably thinking no one would notice his idiocy. Tough.
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