A trade unionist activist has apologised over a tweet criticising a member of a pro-EU group backed by the Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros.
Eddie Dempsey, from the RMT union, accused Michael Chessum, a member of the leftwing pro-EU group Another Europe is Possible, of having his pockets “full of Soros money”.
“I’m a socialist trade unionist and antifascist with a track record,” he wrote. “You’re a posh student with pockets full of Soros money campaigning against our decision to leave an institution that makes austerity perminant [sic].”
Dempsey later apologised on Twitter “if anyone got the wrong end of the stick.”
“I read Michael Chessum in the Guardian saying AEIS [Another Europe is Possible] got 70 grand from Soros,” he wrote. “Didn’t expect pointing that out would lead to offence and I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.”
Labour MP Clive Lewis shared Chessum’s tweet of a clip from a panel event on Brexit Dempsey attended, during which he said: “The one thing that unites [Tommy Robinson supporters] is their hatred of the liberal left. And they are right to hate them.”
Lewis added: “He later went on to say that the liberal left had taken over parts of the labour movement and used ‘top level’ workers and ethnic minorities to avoid representing working class people.”
“That’s the language of the far-right,” the MP wrote in another tweet. “You defend that then you’re no better.”
Aaron Bastani, co-founder of Novara Media, was among the social media users to defend Dempsey, writing in a tweet: “Eddie Dempsey was referring to AEIP [Another Europe is Possible] funding.
“I happen to think Soros is rare example of enlightened patrician liberal (even search my tweets) but if he has funded a specific org saying as much is an observation.”
In another tweet, he added: “[Soros] is often used as antisemitic shorthand. Here, however, he clearly isn’t.”
The Mancunian comedian Marlon Solomon criticised Dempsey, writing: “Well those fascists Eddie fought in the streets also bang on about ‘Soros money’ so um, I’ll take my chances with Clive.”