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Councillor referred to Ombudsman over Facebook comments after Boxing Day hunt protest

By Sue Austin | Welshpool | News | Published:

A town councillor has been reported to the Local Government Ombudsman for social media comments following a Boxing Day hunt.

Welshpool Town Council agreed at a special meeting to refer Councillor Heather Chave to the ombudsman.

But councillors said that her appearance at an anti-fox hunting demonstration in the town was not the issue as it did not breach council rules.

The meeting cleared both Councillor Chave and Councillor Nicola Morris of any wrong-doing during the Boxing Day hunt protest. Both were part of a demonstration against fox hunting during the annual parade of horses and hounds in Welshpool.

Town clerk Robert Robinson said: “The councillors were acting as individuals and not representing the town council on this day with regards to the event or issue of fox hunting.

"The council recognises the right for individuals to campaign in a free country. The council has clear evidence that both councillors acted properly on the day of the hunt outside the town hall. What others did within the protest group is not a matter for the town council.”

Councillor Chave has been referred to the ombudsman because of comments that followed on Facebook.

Mr Robinson said: “Councillors sign up to a code of conduct which applies 365 days a year and 24 hours a day in all walks of life and the council considered that Councillor Chave’s comments on Facebook were in breach of the code.

"The council expects all its councillors and staff to act in a professional and polite way at all times without exception.

“The council also expresses its concern that Facebook is being used in an abusive way and that there is clearly on occasions ‘cyber bullying’ taking place. The council will not support such uses of Facebook and does hope in the future that people will use this useful social media in a civilised way.”

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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