Biddulph Town Council considered seeking legal advice on "repeated unsubstantiated claims" on social media

  Posted: 15.09.21 at 18:15 by Jack Lenton

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Biddulph Town Council considered seeking legal advice in relation to "repeated unsubstantiated claims" made about the authority on social media - but the discussion has been shelved for now.

The discussion took place at a council meeting held yesterday (Tuesday September 14th), with an agenda item stating: "To approve that this council will seek legal advice in relation to repeated unsubstantiated claims that may damage the reputation" of the town council, councillors and council staff.

The agenda item was moved into confidential at the beginning of the meeting, meaning members of the public and press were not allowed to be present for the discussions.

Biddulph Town Cllr Nigel Yates, who represents the Biddulph West ward, told Nub News that the conversation entailed "how far this can go before we do something about it", but added that the discussions ultimately "fizzled out into nothing".

He said: "It's been shelved for now, it was just a general discussion. It was a bit of a strange one, and I didn't make any comments at the time.

"Councillors felt there was a problem with Facebook and people jumping on the bandwagon, making very offensive comments and tarnishing the council."

He added that some comments made on social media could deter new people from wanting to become councillors, explaining: "We are always trying to attract the next generation of councillors and have a diverse council, but it can be difficult when people who have an axe to grind post comments that totally don't represent any semblance of fact.

"It does come with the territory a bit when you're a councillor, but in some respects, why should it?

"For that reason we discussed whether there was a case for making a stand - it's a difficult subject as you're always going to get it, whether you're in local politics, national politics or the media."

Cllr Yates also explained his thoughts on social media comments and the role of councillors on social media, saying: "I think 80% of people post well thought out comments, but 20% post things that you would never say to somebody in the street.

"It's one thing to say it about councillors, but we also have officers who are employees of the council doing their best. I'm old enough to have a relatively thick skin, but you do sometimes wonder if it's all worth it.

"I am personally on social media, and I sometimes go and respond to them, but some councillors never go on social media, which I can understand."

He added: "In the end the discussion fizzled out into nothing because we didn't want to take it that far, but the discussion was along the lines of how far this can go before we should do something about it."


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