A ROW has broken out between members of Malpas Parish Council over appropriate use of social media.

At the parish council's September meeting, held virtually on Monday, September 14, Councillor Chris Whitehurst accused fellow Cllr Charles Higgie of bringing the council into disrepute.

Cllr Whitehurst commented that Cllr Higgie's use of social media often crossed the line between personal and professional and that his recent comments regarding flooding in the village helped sow discontent towards the parish council.

In a statement read out at the meeting, Cllr Whitehurst said he grew 'more and more concerned' with what was being put on social media and suggested Cllr Higgie's consistent social media posts were part of an ambition to become borough councillor.

"During the recent flooding incident Cllr Higgie posted numerous comments on Facebook, which resulted in a number of negative comments against Bovis and the Red Lion," said Cllr Whitehurst.

"The comments resulted in the outright condemnation of the parish council.

"Any communication we do is not always understood by the recipient with the same intention.

"Cllr Higgie is the council's most prolific poster on social media, virtually all comments have a comment from him, almost never adding anything of any value.

"It is recognised that councillors have freedom of speech. I can only assume that this constant social media barrage is part of his political ambitions to become 2023 Borough Councillor

"We cannot stop Cllr Higgie from posting on social media, but having warned him in the past we need to take action."

After the meeting Cllr Higgie responded to Cllr Whitehurst's comments, accusing the latter of hypocrisy.

"I think it is very rich coming him considering he runs the Malpas Parish Council website which is blatantly party politically biased," said Cllr Higgie. "It has links to both our local Borough Councillor and our MP, who both happen to be Conservatives, but has no link for anyone who wants to contact a member of any other political party.

"Furthermore he admits that he will not use any item I forward to the Malpas Parish Council website, if I mention myself, on the grounds that I get enough publicity.

"I would have thought one could easily make the case that both the Borough Councillor and the MP get enough coverage elsewhere also.

"It is he who is bringing Malpas Parish Council into dispute and giving it a bad reputation, not me."