DUP MP Gregory Campbell said he has no regrets over comments he made regarding James McClean’s decision not to wear a Poppy despite a public backlash.
The East Derry politician said he had received a mixed reaction to his comments, which included hundreds of messages from people supporting his views.
Hundreds more, however, have directed scathing criticism at Mr. Campbell and defended the player with a social media campaign under the hashtag #IStandWithMcClean gathering momentum.
Mr. Campbell criticised the Derry winger following West Bromwich Albion’s game against Manchester City on Saturday. Writing on Facebook Mr Campbell claimed the West Brom winger was “up to his old tricks again.”
“He just can’t help himself. For those who say he’s entitled to refuse to wear it, yes he is , but being entitled to do something wrong doesn’t make it right. He was wrong to do it previously and he’s wrong now,” Mr Campbell claimed.
The re-ignited issue comes after McClean explained his stance on the matter last year.
He said“If the Poppy was simply about World War I and II victims alone, I would wear it without a problem.
“I’d wear it every day of the year if that was the thing, but it doesn’t, it stands for all the conflicts that Britain has been involved in.”
The ‘Journal’ was unable to reach Mr McClean last night.
Mr Campbell, meanwhile, claimed many of those who had criticised him had not read his comments fully.
He said: “I have no difficulty in James McClean having the right not to wear the Poppy, but when he does exercise that right, that doesn’t exclude him from criticism for not doing so.”
Whenasked if he had any regrets about his comments Mr. Campbell said he had “none whatsoever.”