Ex-councillor leaves Portsmouth Lib Dems over claim

STANDING DOWN David-Stephen Butler
STANDING DOWN David-Stephen Butler
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A FORMER councillor has quit the Liberal Democrats following allegations that he behaved inappropriately towards members of its youth wing.

A social worker claimed that David Stephen Butler, who served on St Jude’s ward for eight years, was sending inappropriate Facebook messages to two teenagers who are part of Portsmouth Young Liberal Democrats.

The claim, made in September last year, was then investigated by Hampshire Constabulary but the force decided a criminal offence hadn’t taken place so no further action was taken.

During the probe, Mr Butler was asked not to have any contact with all younger members, and he has now stepped down from the party in order to distance himself from the situation.

The matter has been referred to the Liberal Democrat Federal Party’s pastoral care officer so they can ensure steps are in place to protect youngsters.

Simon Dodd, chairman of Portsmouth Liberal Democrats, said: ‘We understand that a former member of the Liberal Democrats was the subject of a complaint by a social worker in concern with online contact with a member of Portsmouth Young Lib Dems.

‘This report led to a police investigation, which is the correct procedure for any such complaint.’

Mr Dodd is also working with Hayden Taylor, the president of Portsmouth Young Liberal Democrats, to ensure all members are fully aware of the complaints procedure.

Councillor Phil Smith, Mr Butler’s civil partner who represents Central Southsea ward, said: ‘There was an investigation by police and social services combined and the outcome was no further action. Unfortunately there were rumours circulating that there was a police caution but it is not true.’

Mr Butler, who stepped down as a councillor three years ago but remained in the party, said: ‘The relevant authorities looked into the matter and found there were no grounds to proceed with any further action.’

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said: ‘Alleged inappropriate remarks by a man towards two teenagers were reported to police in September.

‘Detectives from Portsmouth CID investigated the concerns.

‘No criminal offences were identified.’