Phil Flanagan MLA: an apology

26 Feb 2015 Nick Garbutt    Last updated: 7 Jul 2015

Phil Flanagan MLA

In a recent article Scope described Phil Flanagan MLA as a “bad boy of Twitter."

Mr Flanagan has subsequently been in touch to inform us that our piece does not tell the full story. He has drawn our attention to a number of omissions from the article.

These include a tweet he produced which described his fellow MLA Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Tom Elliott as a “clampit”.

Mr Elliott subsequently complained to the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Standards Douglas Bain

Mr Bain ruled that the term was at best only mildly offensive, ruling:

“It would appear that it should in fact be clampett and that it is based on the name of the family in the American situation comedy ‘The Hillbillies’ that was originally broadcast on CBS from 1962 to 1971. Jed, the head of the Clampett family, was portrayed as a good humoured, country loving, rather old fashioned person with much common sense. There was nothing that could reasonably be regarded as offensive about him or any other of the Clampett family.”

Mr Flanagan was also in the local press after characterising Clabby as a “black hole” a comment he later stated was a reference to its lack of mobile phone coverage.

Mr Elliott is also taking Mr Flanagan to the High Court over a separate tweet which referred to his previous career in the security forces.

Scope is happy to set the record straight. We unreservedly apologise to Mr Flanagan for any distress our article may have caused and are happy to confirm that he is even more the “bad boy of Twitter” than our original report suggested.


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