Portsmouth council leader calls opponent ‘Vermin’ on Twitter

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THE leader of Portsmouth City Council has come under fire for Twitter comments to the head of the city’s Lib Dem group.

Councillor Donna Jones referred to Lib Dem Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson as ‘Vermin-Jackson’ in a spat on social media after he criticised her for spending £5,800 on a new office.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson, the authority’s former leader, said her remarks were ‘childish’ and it was disappointing she had stooped so low.

Cllr Jones’ tweet said: ‘Previous council leader GeraldVerminJackson had an office just for his PA support!! #waste-of-public-money this won’t happen on my watch!’

‘I found it deeply offensive but also childish to be calling people names,’ Cllr Vernon-Jackson said.

‘I hope I have never done that and I hope I am more grown up than that.

‘It’s very worrying when people stoop that low, and doing it across the internet to thousands of people is very offensive.’

Cllr Lee Hunt, Lib Dem opposition spokesman for culture, leisure and sport, has referred Cllr Jones’ comments to Richard Lingard, who is leading the council’s investigation into claims there is a ‘culture of bullying’ amongst councillors.

But Cllr Jones insists her comment was a typo and has apologised for it.

‘I’m sorry Cllr Vernon-Jackson, it was a typo and I am going to go back and do important things on the council rather than pick fights with other politicians,’ she said.

‘The Lib Dems should be focusing their efforts on important issues in the city council and helping to put things right.

‘I am working a 50 hour plus week clearing up their mess.’