September 23 2014 Latest news:
Sam Blewett, Reporter
Friday, July 4, 2014
Andrew Rosindell MP has removed a picture of him grinning next to convicted sex attacker Rolf Harris from his Facebook page after receiving complaints.
Tom Baker commented on the picture on Monday asking if the Romford MP felt he should remove the image in light of Harris’ conviction for 12 counts of indecent assault.
The Recorder spoke to Mr Rosindell on Tuesday. He said: “That was taken a few years ago, definitely before he was arrested.
“I will try and take it down. I don’t know how to take it down to be honest. I will ask my staff to look.”
The photo, which appeared on his public profile next to pictures of his dog Buster and the late prime minister Margaret Thatcher was removed by Wednesday afternoon.
Lynne Harrington first raised the issue with the photo back in January this year but received no response.
She commented: “Maybe this photo should be removed bearing in mind the investigations and current charges that are surrounding Mr Harris at the present time!!”
Defending the taking of the picture, Mr Rosindell said: “People better not be photographed with anyone in case they become future criminals.”
Harris was first questioned by police in November 2012, a month after the picture was posted to Facebook.
A jury at Southwark Crown Court found the Australian guilty of the 12 charges that date back to the 60s, 70s and 80s and involve four girls one of which was seven or eight years old when the assault took place.
The Facbook gaffe is not the first time the Conservatives in Romford have faced criticism because of social media use.
Mr Rosindell came under fire in 2012 after he defended Cllr Osman Dervish for once being a member of a tribute page to a former Chilean dictator - the “Augusto Pinochet Fan Club” - on Facebook.