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Call for full investigation into council leader’s “racist” post

Cllr Alan Smith

ALLERDALE Conservatives have called for the Labour leader of Allerdale Borough Council to be investigated over alleged online “racist” posts, and for councillors to undertake social media training.

A ‘Save the golliwog’ post was shared from Cllr Alan Smith’s Facebook account on 20 February. The councillor claims he was ‘hacked’, prompting the Conservatives to call for a full investigation.

Mr Smith, said he was reporting the hack to police.

He said: “I hadn’t been in Facebook and when I went (back) on I realised I haven’t done that. It was shared by Alan Smith but it wasn’t me. The account has been hacked

“I would never put something like that on and as soon as I saw it, I took it down.”

Mr Smith, who has since deleted his account, said he could not rule out a politically-motivated attack ahead of council elections in two months time.

Conservative Group Leader Cllr Tony Annison was ‘disappointed’ to see the posts had appeared on Cllr Smith’s Facebook profile, and sceptical about the ‘hacking’ as it didn’t follow the format common to most Facebook hacking attempts.

Speaking, Cllr Annison said: “Councillor Smith is claiming to be the victim of a hack. This would be hot on the heels of a cyber-security issue in Copeland Borough Council that cost them £2m, and the alleged hacking of the Chief Executives email ‪on the 12th September. The authority must take immediate action to prevent any further issues and safeguard personal data.”

Cllr Mark Jenkinson, Deputy Leader of the Conservatives in Allerdale and the Chairman of the Workington Constituency Conservative Association said: “This couldn’t have came at a worse time for the Labour Party, when nationally they’re wracked with accusations of anti-Semitism and their own MPs are leaving because of Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to act. I wouldn’t like to comment on their policies, but I can categorically state that if he one of our members, he would be suspended immediately pending the outcome of a thorough investigation.

“Allerdale Borough Council need also to step up and take any action necessary to maintain trust in the authority and it’s senior officers.”

It is understood that there are already a number of complaints lodged with the Allerdale Borough Council Standards Committee against other Labour councillors in relation to their misuse of social media.

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