Councillor promises to Tweet ‘more responsibly’

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A COUNCILLOR has promised to Tweet ‘more responsibly’ in future after he was challenged in front of the whole council about his comments.

Councillor Mark Ashberry used the social networking site Twitter to make a comment about the forthcoming Full Council meeting when Councillor Mike Cook was due to step down as chairman of South Kesteven District Council.

He wrote: “Council AGM agenda has a ‘vote of thanks to the retiring Chairman’, might propose an amendment for a ‘vote of no thanks & good riddance’ lol”.

Councillor Linda Neal raised the subject at the end of the meeting, which was held last Thursday.

She said: “I’m going to do something really naughty - Is Coun Ashberry going to make an apology for the disrespect he has shown to the office and Coun Mike Cook himself?

“His comments bring the whole thing into total disrespect. I think his attitude is disgraceful and he should be ashamed of himself. He’s not fit in my view to be a member of this council. He should think about resigning.”

Coun Ashberry said that he was not going to act on his comments and that he was joking.

He said: “I have a right to freedom of speech, I haven’t broken the law or anything.

“I never mentioned Coun Cook by name. I wouldn’t have done that.

“Coming to the issue of respect to the chairman, as far as I’m aware that is only required in this chamber. I was not acting as a councillor by using Twitter. I use it as a tool to represent my ward and give my views. I am happy to discuss this with Coun Cook after the meeting.”

New chairman Rosemary Kaberry-Brown said: “Councillor, three little words ‘I am sorry’ would be great.”

When making the vote of thanks Mayor of Grantham Mike Taylor said: “Sadly I am only proposing this vote of thanks on behalf of 57 councillors as there is one within our midst whose inane rantings on Twitter do them no credit whatsoever. Respect is earned not demanded and Mike has certainly earned the respect which should be afforded him.”

After the meeting Coun Mark Ashberry said : “I offered an apology to Coun Mike Cook after the meeting. Through the Journal, I wish to extend my apologies to anyone who was present who was offended.

“I will also be writing an unreserved apology to all councillors and officers present. I will Tweet more responsibly in future.”