Conservative council candidate condemned over ‘bomb Bristol’ comment - after making similar remarks in the past

A Conservative Party candidate has been criticised after Tweeting that the UK should “bomb Bristol” after a protest in the city escalated into scenes of violence on Sunday night (21 Mar).

Stephen Halbhuber, a Conservative candidate for St Anthony’s Ward, Eastbourne Council, Tweeted: “Just bomb Bristol,” in response to a video from the protests, which showed people graffitiing a building.

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‘I completely regret my comments’

The Tweet attracted significant criticism and Halbhuber has now apologised, Tweeting: “I want to apologise unreservedly for my comments last night, and for any offence caused.

"Needless to say, it is not something that I believe, or would advocate for. In the cold light of day, I completely regret them.”

Halbhuber, who has now deleted his Twitter account, has previously shared potentially offensive messages on the social media platform, including other suggestions to “bomb” locations with ongoing protests.

‘Just bomb the place’

He previously responded to a Channel 4 news report of the death of George Floyd with “Fu** off Channel 4” and responded to reports of ant-racist protests in the US last June saying “just bomb the place”, referring, in this instance, to Seattle.

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Halbhuber also previously responded to a Tweet about migrants crossing the channel saying: “More voters for labour and the London mayor”.

Labour MPs were encouraged to respond to the Tweet, tagging in the Conservative Party co-chair, Amanda Milling, and the official Conservative Party account, to draw it to their attention, according to The Times.

The message sent to Labour MPs reportedly said: “Colleagues are encouraged to tweet and tag Amanda Milling (@amandamilling) and CCHQ (@Conservatives) following the outrageous comments of Stephen Halbhuber, a council candidate for the Tories in Eastbourne.”

‘Completely unacceptable’

Responding to this, Amanda Milling said: “These comments are completely unacceptable and I condemn them. The individual involved has been contacted.

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“It is on all of us across political divides to work together to stamp out online abuse.”

The Eastbourne and Willingdon Conservative Association has yet to respond to a request for comment, or confirm whether Stephen Halbhuber will still stand as a Conservative candidate in the upcoming local elections.