A local Conservative official has been suspended from the party after retweeting a message aimed at the Labour MP Diane Abbott that has been described as racist.
Alan Pearmain, the deputy chairman of the South Ribble Conservative Association and a parish councillor, shared a tweet in December that portrayed Abbott, the shadow home secretary, as an ape wearing lipstick who should be in a zoo.
Pearmain added a comment to the original post reading: “Nice lips kid. But a shade too much rouge.”
A Conservative spokesman said: “His comments are completely unacceptable and he has been suspended from the party, pending an investigation.”
The controversy emerged as it was revealed that a female staff member in Abbott’s team wrote to the Met police about another “threatening and racist” message sent this week.
Abbott would not comment on the police complaint, which was leaked to the Guardian, but sources confirmed that it had been sent.
The worker claimed that death and rape threats, and offensive messages focusing on race and weight, were now a daily occurrence for the shadow home secretary.
In his Twitter profile, Pearmain describes himself as “positioned slightly to the right of Attila the Hun”. He denied that the tweet, first reported by the Lancashire Evening Post, was racist, when contacted by the Guardian on Thursday morning.
He said: “I’m almost 70, I’ve been asked to apologise on many, many occasions. Sometimes it warrants apologising, sometimes it…