THE Bolton Labour Party has been condemned for an ‘outrageous’ social media post likening its Smithills branch to the Soviet Union.

A Facebook event was created last week inviting Labour activists to help deliver leaflets in Smithills to support candidate Ryan Quick under the banner ‘All Power to the Smithillsgrad Soviet’.

The post, which has since been taken down, has drawn heavy criticism from opponents, who said families that fled Soviet Russia would be ‘horrified’ to see it celebrated.

Labour said that the post was created by an individual member rather than Mr Quick, who will stand in May’s local elections and is the chairman of Bolton Young Labour.

Douglas Bagnall, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Smithills, said: “This outrageous call to action by Bolton Labour has rightly caused concern amongst local residents who saw the post.

“Whilst we have known for quite a while that the Labour Party under Corbyn have communist leanings, for the local branch to openly compare itself favourably to a regime responsible for over nine million deaths is beyond comprehension.

“Those residents in Smithills who are old enough to remember living in Cold War Britain know full well the threat that Soviet Russia posed to international stability. Indeed there are many families across Bolton whose parents and grandparents fled the very regime being celebrated by the Bolton Labour Party. I’m sure they will be horrified to see how the Bolton Labour Party have chosen to act under the newly elected leader.

“We would hope that Bolton Labour leader Cllr Thomas takes swift action to condemn the posting and issue a public apology for the comments.”

A Bolton Labour Group spokesman, said: “This was an insensitive comment made by an individual member, not the Smithills candidate, which was been immediately taken down by the branch officials.

“The focus of the campaign is on local issues which highlights massive government cuts to local budgets which have caused a Care Crisis for our elderly and jeopardised many other of our frontline services on which we all rely and value.”