Tory cleared by inquiry into Facebook post

Councillor Jim Marsh
Councillor Jim Marsh

A Tory councillor has hit out at internet trolls after he was suspended by his party for a two-year-old post on Facebook.

Coun Jim Marsh has now been cleared and re-instated after an investigation by the Conservative group on South Ribble Council.

But the episode has left him angry at what he feels was “mischief making” by someone out to land him in trouble.

“The suspension was lifted in a matter of two days,” he said. “It was nothing more than a storm in a teacup. I have admitted I was wrong. I used the wrong word. It was a stupid mistake. But someone has deliberately trawled through my Facebook account, found it from two years ago and decided it would be a good idea to report me.

“I’m not the only council member who has been trolled recently. It seems there are people out there who just want to cause trouble.”

The former Mayor, who also sits on Lancashire County Council, was accused of making an anti-Islamic comment when he signed an online petition supporting a Pakistan Christian mother who was sentenced to death in 2010 for blasphemy.

“I am not a racist, I never have been,” he said. “Anyone who knows me will tell you that. But I’ve been made to look one by a person who is just mischief making. I think my suspension was a knee-jerk reaction. But once the accusation had been looked into I was immediately exonerated.”

The case comes days after Labour member Caleb Tomlinson was accused of making “inappropriate” posts on Facebook dating back four years. Tory leader Coun Peter Mullineaux confirmed Coun Marsh’s suspension had been lifted.