Tory councillor suffers Facebook backlash after 'sarcastic' post

Marshalswick South councillor Richard Curthoys.

Marshalswick South councillor Richard Curthoys. - Credit: Archant

A Conservative district councillor has been lambasted by Facebook users after posting comments about secrecy within the Lib Dem administration.

Richard Curthoys, who represents Marshalswick South and describes himself as a "LibDem Baiter" on his Twitter profile, questioned why councillors were made privy to documents kept secret from the public.

Alongside a picture of confidential blue papers, he asked members of the St Albans People group: "Why is this administration so obsessed with secrecy?"

He said: "Virtually every set of papers we get from this administration contain blue (schhh it's a secret) papers, items we cannot disclose to you the electorate for various reasons."

Cllr Richard Curthoys' Facebook post on the St Albans People group.

Cllr Richard Curthoys' Facebook post on the St Albans People group. - Credit: St Albans People

But if he was expecting page members to back up his comments then he was sadly mistaken.

Among the replies to his post was Nicola Diplock, who said: "As a councillor you have every right to question this, but there is a right way and a wrong way. Contacting the responsible person within the council is the right way. Putting a sarcastic comment, with photo, on Facebook is the wrong way."

Andy Martin posted: "Richard I think you need to take a long hard look at yourself and the example you are setting to the future generation."

Karen Llewellin added: "If you are a local councillor you seem to have an astonishing lack of personal integrity. I do not expect local councillors to be sniping in this way."

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Gary Broadbent said: "There are two local Tory supporters in particular who do their family no favours with their comments, but they just don't seem to realise it. Their hatred of anything non-Tory overrides all common sense, and just about everything else."

Cllr Curthoys has been approached for comment.

Conservative leader Cllr Mary Maynard said: "In my view, Richard made a point that is fairly easily assessed by looking at the proportion of papers in blue to not in blue over the last few years.

"My perception is the same as Richard’s, namely that the percentage in blue has increased.  For example, Cabinet papers on the 28th January consisted of 138 pages of which 74 (54%) were in blue.

"However, I have not done a detailed analysis and am happy to accept that perceptions can be mistaken. Of course, residents will find it difficult to assess the facts of what Richard is commenting on as they do not see or know how much information is being produced in ‘blue’.   They do not have access to it.

"I think social media is well liked by some people and avoided by others.  In my view, it tends to not give the opportunity for people to present ideas or opinions in any depth, although it can be used to sign post people to more thoughtful analysis.

"I take residents views very seriously and am always happy to hear from them irrespective of the platform.  I have often been alerted to issues on social media.  

"More broadly, if anyone feels that a councillor is not meeting the Councillor Code of Conduct, they have the right to report them to the Council.  The complainant will be interviewed on the facts of their complaint and their complaint assessed by the council’s lawyer.

"How to complain and details of the process can be found here:"