Complaint sparks Facebooking Sandwell councillor's resignation

Councillor Jayne Wilkinson

Councillor Jayne Wilkinson

First published in News
Last updated

A PROLIFIC Facebooking Sandwell councillor has resigned from the Labour group after her use of social media was called into question.

Tividale Councillor Jayne Wilkinson, who is a leading member Friends of the Rowley Regis Libraries Group, announced she was no longer part of the ruling Sandwell Council Labour group on Facebook.

She said: “I officially registered with democratic services, as of Monday, February 4, I now sit as Independent Labour councillor.”

She also posted several cryptic songs like I’m Walking Away by Craig David, You And Me Against The World by Space and Jessie J’s Nobody’s Perfect.

Sandwell Council leader Councillor Darren Cooper blamed Cllr Wilkinson’s exit on a member of the public complaining about inappropriate use of Facebook.

He said: “I am very surprised by all this, in fact it is a bit of mystery what has happened.

“I know there had been a complaint from a member of public about what Cllr Wilkinson was posting on Facebook but I did not expect her to resign.

“I expected our whips office to have a word and advise her about what to put and what not to put on social media as she is a fairly new councillor and we wanted to offer her help.”

He added: “However, the next thing I heard was that she went ballistic, resigned and is now an independent councillor.”

Cllr Wilkinson had been very vocal about the fall out from the giant fire at Alcohols Ltd, Oldbury in November as she lived opposite the blaze.

At the time she wrote: “I've booked the whole family in to the doctors - we may need family counselling after all this is finally over.” Cllr Cooper added: “I really think social media is a great way for councillors to interact with the public and the wider world.

“However, the problem starts when councillors start posting strange things, offensive comments about other people or the council as this will always bring their judgement into question.”

Cllr Cooper, who has Facebook and Twitter accounts on which he chronicles his love for West Bromwich Albion, Elvis and Smethwick, fell foul of social media last year when he retweeted a tweet which alluded to Margaret Thatcher “rotting in hell”.

With Cllr Wilkinson now an independent, there will now be five opposition councillors on Sandwell Council, two Conservatives, one Traditional Conservative, one Independent Socialist and one Independent Labour.

Labour holds an iron grip on power with 67 seats.

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