A NEW ‘ambassador’ for equality and diversity for Burton Labour Party is facing criticism over online remarks disparaging his home town.
Craig Jones, was selected as the party’s Equality and Diversity Coordinator, taking a lead for the party on the matter.
However, he has quickly run in to controversy after a Conservative county councillor criticised remarks Mr Jones made on social networking site Twitter.
In response to a tweet which said ‘Train’s pulling into a station in the middle of nowhere. Apparently it’s called Burton. Only three people got on, Why do they even bother?’, Mr Smith replied ‘It is a bit of a [expletive]’.
Burton Tower Division county councillor Conor Wileman spotted the tweet and told the Mail: “If being an ambassador in the Labour party is about talking down the town then questions need to be asked about how the Labour party chooses their representatives.
“We shouldn’t limit free speech but it is wrong to make such a statement about a town that needs the support from all political parties.”
In comments supporting Mr Smith’s appointment this week, Labour parliamentary candidate Jon Wheale said ‘Craig is a true ambassador for the local Labour Party and the constituency.’
Councillor Wileman added: “I believe the people of Burton should know that this is the attitude of someone who ‘is a true ambassador [for] the constituency’.
In response, Mr Smith, of Horninglow, apologised for causing offence but added Councilor Wileman had ‘too much time on his hands’.
He said: “I do tweet in a personal capacity, which is highlighted on my Twitter account. I’ll be taking measures to ensure there is nothing that could cause offence.
“However it seems our Conservative colleague has too much time on his hands if he can trawl through someone’s personal space online to look for dirt rather than working in his constituency.”
“I do apologise for any offence caused and will take action to correct this, and through working more in the community I can see what a great town Burton really is.”