'˜Inappropriate' Facebook post about sex scandal lands councillor in trouble

A COUNCILLOR has been ruled to have made '˜inappropriate' comments after warning of '˜mischief makers' in a post about the Westminster sex scandal.

Tuesday, 9th January 2018, 3:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th January 2018, 12:15 pm
Cllr Roger Allen

Roger Allen faced scrutiny after the comments on his own Facebook page in November when the Harvey Weinstein sex allegations spread to the ongoing Westminster sleaze scandal.

Now councillors, who met at a committee meeting to rule on a complaint made by constituent, have said his comments ‘were inappropriate and had not upheld the high standards which were expected’.

But Cllr Allen, who represents Hardway at Gosport Borough Council for the Conservatives, hit back at the ruling, which invites him in for social media training.

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He believes the situation has been blown out of proportion.

He said: ‘This is a load of rubbish.

‘What is being said is certainly not indicative of my thoughts – it was just misinterpreted.

‘I am 74 years old, I am not a child that needs reminding of how to behave.

‘To be honest, I am very annoyed with it all. You’re not allowed to give an opinion on things these days.’

The Gosport Borough Council assessment sub-committee met on January 3 following a complaint sent to Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage from a constituent who said she was ‘totally disgusted’.

The MP agreed the comments were ‘ill judged and liable to cause offence.’

The sub-committee, which included fellow Conservative councillors Christopher Carter and John Beavis, has requested that Cllr Allen is invited to undertake training in both equality and diversity and social media use.

Written comments from Cllr Kathy Jones were also considered at the meeting.

Cllr Carter said: ‘The committee noted that the Facebook account is a personal one, but in the committee’s view any action by an elected member on social media is in the public forum.

‘The committee was disappointed and concluded that the comments made were inappropriate and didn’t hold up to the high standards we expect.’

The offer of social media training will also be offered to all borough councillors.

Cllr Carter said: ‘Everyone needs to think before they press that send button – that is what the training will be for.’

In the original post, Cllr Allen said: ‘I am beginning to feel it is not really advisable to be in the same room with anyone of the opposite sex without a chaperon.

‘An accusation of sexual misconduct, whether true or not, does have an impact on reputation and can so easily be manufactured or blown out of all proportion by mischief makers.

‘The matter of determining truth is extremely difficult often amounting to one person’s word against another, but the damage is done.’