Scarborough councillor caught up in row over tweets

Cllr Phillip Trumper has now deleted his Twitter page
Cllr Phillip Trumper has now deleted his Twitter page

A Scarborough councillor has found himself at the centre of a Twitter storm.

Cllr Phillip Trumper, who is chairman of the borough council's Planning Committee, is facing calls to stand down after he retweeted a number of comments that have been called "totally unacceptable".

More tweets

More tweets

The retweets include pictures of overweight men and women at anti-austerity marches, mocking them for being able to afford pasties and "six KFCs a day".

Other retweets include one seemingly pointing fingers of blame for the Grenfell Tower fire on residents who lived there, and one saying there was no public outcry following a fire in a tower block when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister.

Another likens Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to convicted sex offender Rolf Harris and the Esk Valley ward councillor also tweeted that he was considering setting up an "owt for nowt" political party for students.

Cllr Trumper, who has deleted his Twitter account after being approached by The Scarborough News, said that his retweets do not mean he endorses the views expressed. He admitted he had been "naive".

Trumper's tweets

Trumper's tweets

He said: "I do not support the views expressed and they are not my views and they are not my words. I do no endorse them.

"I find the comments about the Grenfell Fire by many people on Twitter including leading politicians very distasteful such a tragedy should not be politicised. I have explained the one tweet which I did write it wasn't a dig at students as you have incorrectly pointed out, but a dig at the Labour Parties manifesto.

"The other retweets regarding austerity and people who are obese and Jeremy Corbyn at Glastonbury are supposed to be jokes and not at all that funny and if I offended anyone by retweeting these tweets I apologise and maybe I should be a bit more careful with what I do retweet and from tonight I have decided to delete my Twitter account.

"Even though I am a Conservative I am not a far right Conservative, I'm a centrist."

Some of the tweets

Some of the tweets

He said the tweets were just a "small selection" of ones he had sent and he often tweeted from all sides of the political landscape.

However, Labour group leader Cllr Steve Siddons said that Cllr Trumper should be considering his role on one of the authority's most important committees.

He said: "If these tweets are genuine, I find it totally unacceptable for an elected member, who is supposed to represent the whole community in a fair and even-handed way, to apparently make or retweet these comments.

"At the very least, it shows a lack of judgement and at worst, an insight into Cllr Trumper's views.

"I think the Monitoring Officer should look into the circumstances and advise whether Cllr Trumper should be brought before the Standards Committee and if found to have brought the Council into disrepute, whether he should stand down as Chair of Planning."

The council's code of conduct sets out how councillors should interact with the public.

It states: "Respect for others – members should promote equality by not discriminating unlawfully against any person, and by treating people with respect, regardless of their race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. They should respect the impartiality and integrity of the authority’s statutory officers and its other employees."

It adds: "Whilst it is acknowledged that some members of the public can make unreasonable demands on members, members should, as far as possible, treat the public courteously and with consideration. Rude and offensive behaviour lowers the public’s expectations and confidence in its elected representatives."