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Complaint Against Former Warrington Labour Candidate Dismissed

Monday, February 17th, 2020 2:21pm

By Aran Dhillon - Local Democracy Reporter

A complaint against Labour’s former parliamentary candidate Nick Bent by two politicians from the party over posts on social media has been dismissed.

Winwick parish councillor Chris Vobe, son of former Warrington North MP Helen Jones, and Great Sankey South borough councillor Amanda King lodged a complaint alleging that Stockton Heath parish councillor Mr Bent failed to comply with the councillors’ code of conduct.

It related to comments tweeted by Mr Bent, who has lost out in two Warrington South general election battles, relating to the pair.

One tweet claimed Mr Vobe tried to ‘install’ Cllr King as Labour’s Warrington North parliamentary candidate and ‘get a paid job in her office’ if she secured the seat.

It claims Constituency Labour Party members were ‘horrified about the prospect of this’.

The tweets were posted before MP Charlotte Nichols was selected as the party’s candidate in the constituency, ahead of her election win.

In a letter to Mr Bent, Matthew Cumberbatch – who is Warrington Borough Council’s director of law and governance, as well as monitoring officer – says he has considered the complaint in full and consulted with the independent person, who has reviewed it.

Mr Cumberbatch concluded no further action will be taken on the matter.

In the letter, he added: “The reason for this is that while the social media account which contained the comments that formed the basis of the complaint do appear to make reference to your role as a parish councillor, the actual comments themselves do not relate to the business affairs of the council or the role and duties of a councillor.

“Instead, the comments appear to be based on a separate party political issue. Accordingly, I do not consider that it should be investigated under the provisions of the councillor code of conduct.”

Mr Bent, who will not be standing  for the parish council in the all-out elections in May, has issued a statement.

“I am pleased my name has been cleared and that this matter is now closed,” he said.

“I enjoy serving on parish council and I love living here but the charity I run is growing rapidly and I need to focus on that and the voluntary work I do in education.

“When I led the Warrington South local election campaign in 2016, Labour won a record number of borough and parish seats, and I wish Labour candidates good luck for May 2020.”

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