The Conservative candidate for the Calder Valley in today’s General Election has sparked anger after sharing a joke comparing the Labour Party to paedophile Jimmy Savile.
Mr Whittaker, who served as Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for children and young people between 2007-10 and sat on the Education Select Committee between 2010-15, shared a post on Twitter linking to a Daily Mail article which read: “Trust Labour? I’d rather trust Jimmy Savile to babysit.”
Mr Whittaker has been widely condemned for sharing the tweet and has been criticised by hundreds of Twitter users who have branded the joke as “sick”, “vile” and “crass”.
Josh Fenton-Glynn, Labour’s candidate for the Calder Valley, said: “You would think that someone in his position would have a greater sense of sympathy to these issues - it’s deeply offensive.”
He was also criticised by charities including the Care Leavers’ Association and the Who Cares? Trust.
The Care Leavers’ Association wrote on its Twitter account: “We are not happy with @Whittaker4mp comments RE:Jimmy Savile on his Twitter. We would like comment from him.”
Mr Whittaker was chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Looked After Children and Care Leavers from 2012 until April this year.
Twitter user Ruth Kennedy wrote: “Really quite confused at how chair of APPG for looked after children could endorse that.”
Mr Whittaker has declined calls to apologise.