Doncaster rugby star dropped by Green Party over homophobic tweets
A Doncaster rugby league star has been ditched by the Green Party as its candidate for an upcoming parliamentary by election after revealing he made a series of ‘highly offensive’ homophobic tweets as a teenager.
Doncaster Rugby League Club prop Ross Peltier, 29, had been selected to contest the July 1 Batley and Spen by election.
But his candidacy has now been revoked after the historic tweets came to light.
Mr Peltier has apologised for the "terrible" language used and said "in no way" is he homophobic.
In a statement released on Twitter, Mr Peltier, who also plays for Jamaica, said the tweets had been posted when he was 19.
"The language used is not acceptable or appropriate in any way, shape or form," he wrote.
"In no way am I homophobic.
"I am sorry if my old tweets have caused harm or upset to anybody."
In a later statement he said he understood the decision to revoke his candidacy, adding that he had "reached out to a number of organisations and want to better my education and give time to work with the LGBTQ+ community".
In response to criticism that his apology was "insincere", he said he was "truly" sorry and that the words used in his past tweets were "terrible and not acceptable".
The Green Party said in a statement: "We were very sorry to learn of Ross Peltier's historic but highly offensive tweets.
"We are clear that people grow and change and should not be limited by youthful mistakes.
"But, as a party that champions the rights of LGBTIQA+ people and their support communities, we do not feel it is right for Ross to be the party's candidate for the Batley and Spen by-election."
The party has said it will not field a replacement.
The by-election was triggered after Labour MP Tracy Brabin stood down following her election as West Yorkshire's mayor.
On his selection, which was only announced last week, Mr Peltier said: “From a young age I have been raised to have a passion for your local community, to give to and help others to create a better place for us all to live in.
“I gained this passion through my parents and how active they have been in communities within Kirklees and the West Yorkshire area. I was immersed in such events, meeting with community groups and really begun to understand that the diversity and strength in character is one of the major things that makes our region so special.
Labour is defending a majority of 3,525 over the Tories from the 2019 general election.
The poll will be contested by 16 candidates:
Paul Bickerdike - Christian Peoples Alliance
Mike Davies - Alliance For Green Socialism
Jayda Fransen - Independent
George Galloway - Workers Party
Tom Gordon - Liberal Democrats
Thérèse Hirst - English Democrats
Howling Laud Hope - The Official Monster Raving Loony Party
Susan Laird - Heritage Party
Kim Leadbeater - Labour Party
Oliver Purser - Social Democratic Party
Corey Robinson - Yorkshire Party
Andrew Smith - Rejoin EU
Ryan Stephenson - Conservative Party
Jack Thomson - UK Independence Party
Jonathan Tilt - Freedom Alliance
Anne Marie Waters - The For Britain Movement