Nick Timothy, who has been a columnist in the Daily Telegraph since he quit as May’s chief of staff last year, wrote in his latest offering that the prime minister opposed the infamous vans when appeared on Britain’s streets in 2012, and was not consulted on their introduction as she was abroad.
“Today I revealed the truth,” the political operative-turned-journalist announced on Twitter earlier this week.
“TM was opposed to [the vans] and they were approved while she was on holiday.”
May is facing questions over why immigrants of the Windrush generation, who came to the UK from British colonies decades ago, are now facing deportation, and whether the “hostile environment” stance on immigration she oversaw as home secretary at the time played any part in it.
However, Business Insider reported today that not only had May approved the vans, she had intervened while on holiday, urging her department to “toughen up” the language.
A Home Office source told Business Insider that Timothy was being “either forgetful or untruthful”.
But if you who rushed to Twitter to ask Timothy for an explanation, you would have been disappointed - @NickJTimothy has disappeared.
Nick Timothy tweeting something silly, having it backfire massively and then deleting his account is basically the same as what he did last spring, in microcosm.— Tom Hamilton (@thhamilton) April 20, 2018
Oh wow. After this revelation, Nick Timothy has deleted his Twitter account.https://t.co/ERUiqfRCi4— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) April 20, 2018
Nick Timothy has not deleted his account. He has gone on holiday and the deletion has occurred without his knowledge. pic.twitter.com/bJd7Sbfd0v— David Lewis (@davidclewis) April 20, 2018
Left-wing Twitter was also saddened to learn the man who wrote Theresa May’s “if you are a citizen of the world you are a citizen of nowhere” speech was gone.
And definitely didn’t find Timothy’s disappearance in the face of criticism hilarious.
Turns out Nick Timothy didn't have indefinite leave to remain.— 923 Bastards #HBPE (@john3ners) April 20, 2018
I see Nick Timothy has found Twitter to be too much of a Hostile Environment.— Chairman Moët (@ChairmanMoet) April 20, 2018
Nick Timothy says he was on holiday when his article about the racist van was being written— Rick Burin (@rickburin) April 20, 2018
For some it was too much, as another social media account wound down in the face of controversy.
first Wetherspoons and now this, how much more good content are we going to lose in 2018 :(— Alan White (@aljwhite) April 20, 2018
If Timothy still has any access to Twitter, he can see his name is trending, teaching him a valuable lesson about the Streisand Effect: Attempts to shut something down invariably draw more attention to it.
Nick Timothy has left Twitter so probably doesn't want to trend. That's Nick Timothy. You know, Nick Timothy. I dare say Nick Timothy won't want this retweeted.— here we go (@BigbigGull) April 20, 2018
After Business Insider published its article, Jeremy Corbyn said it showed “a nastiness at the heart of Government”.
“This is not what our country is about. The Prime Minister should apologise for authorising this ugly campaign,” he said on Twitter.
Timothy was May’s joint chief of staff with Fiona Hill until the disastrous General Election in June 2017, when they both resigned.
He was behind her “citizens of nowhere” speech to Tory Party conference in 2016. He was also blamed for the manifesto pledge to reform adult social care that was dubbed “the dementia tax” and cost the party at the polls.
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