A Wrexham councillor who liked a Facebook comment calling his colleagues a “shower of t**ts” has been told he will not face an investigation into his conduct.
A complaint was made against Plaid Cymru’s Marc Jones last month after he liked the remark posted by another person in response to a story about Wrexham Council spending £22,000 on resurfacing the councillors’ car park.
The grievance was raised by independent council leader Mark Pritchard and 10 other members of the local authority who were said to have felt “hurt” by his actions.
However, Cllr Jones has now received a letter from the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, which has advised it will not be looking into the matter.
After receiving the news, the Grosvenor councillor said he regretted liking the comment, but accused the council’s leading administration of trying to gag him and his party.
He said: “For the past 18 months, we have faced a sustained attempt to silence us.
“A few councillors in the ruling coalition have scoured our social media to try to find fault.
“Last month a complaint was submitted to the Ombudsman about a Facebook comment I liked back in August.
“The Ombudsman has now written to me to say he will not be investigating the complaint and has effectively told the council leader to grow a thicker skin.
“I regret liking the remark. I’m in a public position where that kind of abusive language should not be encouraged.
“But I also regret that the executive board is more concerned with the hurt they feel from a liked comment than the real hurt they have caused in cutting jobs, closing services, shutting down life opportunities and failing to deal decisively time after time with the issues that bother Wrexham people.”
Cllr Jones also claimed those who made the complaint had failed to follow the correct procedure.
He said issues between councillors would normally be handled internally and only referred to the watchdog as a last resort.
But on this occasion it is understood to have been directly escalated to the Ombudsman.
A spokesperson for Wrexham Council said: “We acknowledge that we are aware of the matter but that it is not appropriate to make any comment.”
Cllr Pritchard said he did not wish to comment.
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme).
*Pictured: Cllr Jones and Cllr Pritchard during a “heated debate” last May.
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