Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson
has apologised after posting "Al Qaeda 1, @David_Cameron 0
" on the social media site Twitter in response to the Prime Minister’s decision to postpone his long-awaited speech on Europe due to the developing hostage crisis in Algeria
Mr Cameron decided to postpone his speech on the UK’s relationship with the European Union in Amsterdam to stay in London to oversee the Government’s handling of the crisis. On Thursday he warned the British public to expect “multiple British casualties”
in the west’s worst hostage crisis in a generation, after a botched military attack on a BP gas plant in Algeria, where al-Qaeda kidnappers were holding 41 westerners hostage, led to a bloodbath as helicopter gunships opened fire on the compound.
After deleting the offending tweet, he subsequently posted on Twitter
: "I wish to apologise profusely for the insensitive tweet I issued earlier. I have taken it down.
A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said
“We have not been able to verify whether this tweet is authentic. But whoever it is from, it is clearly sick and offensive and utterly condemned by Nick Clegg.
This morning, Sir Graham released a full written statement, which read as follows:
"I reiterate my profuse apologies for the tweet I issued at 8 pm yesterday. It was ill advised, insensitive and rash and I regret the offence it caused.
I wrote it at the end of a busy day in Parliament in Strasbourg with no knowledge of how news of the hostage crisis in Algeria had developed throughout the day and unaware that the Foreign Secretary was in Australia.
In hindsight I recognise that the Prime Minister was absolutely right to postpone his Europe speech in order to deal with a fast deteriorating situation involving the lives of UK citizens.
I realise it will be of little comfort to the families of those killed or captured but I wish nonetheless to express my sincere condolences to them."
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