Party leader in social media spat


- Credit: Archant

A spokesman for the newly-formed residents’ political party has denied claims that the group’s leader has been banned from his own party’s Facebook page for posting a string of offensive comments.

Councillor Keith Mackman, leader of Residents-For-Uttlesford (R4U), also became embroiled in a public spat with Stansted resident Daniel Brett on another councillor’s blog page following a disagreement over the Local Plan.

A number of Conservative councillors, including Cllrs Andrew Ketteridge and Julie Redfern, told the Reporter that Cllr Mackman, who defected from the Tory group to R4U at the end of last year, had been banned from the (WaR) Facebook page, a campaign group from which the political party R4U was born.

Citing legal reasons, Cllr Mackman said he was unable to comment about the claim, and also declined to respond to allegations that his statements made to a resident on the blog of Cllr Alan Dean, leader of the local Liberal Democrat group, amounted to a breach of Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) code of conduct.

UDC confirmed Cllr Mackman had been reported to the authority’s legal officer but a spokesman said he could not say any more at this stage.

Dan Starr, press officer for R4U, denied Cllr Mackman had been banned from the WaR Facebook page but said his account had been “paused” because of the code of conduct complaint. It means previous comments made by Cllr Mackman cannot currently be seen, nor can he add new ones.

Mr Starr said: “Moderation is an important responsibility and where there is conflict we work to resolve disagreements. We have a clear statement of expected conduct and take action where this falls short.

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“We take all comments about our members seriously, even politically motivated ones. With respect to UDC’s process, we cannot comment about individual issues until UDC has reviewed any complaints and made its decision.”