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Wigan councillor in tweet row

Coun Nathan Murray
Coun Nathan Murray

A councillor has been referred to the standards procedure at the town hall for his activity online.

Former leader of the opposition and Standish Independent representative Debbie Fairhurst has reported Coun Nathan Murray, a Labour member for Bryn, to the local authority’s disciplinary department.

The Wigan Post understands the complaint refers to Coun Murray retweeting a message from another poster which accused Mrs Fairhurst of allowing independent representatives to “spew...c***” online.

The matter is now being looked into at the town hall.

However, when approached by the Wigan Post Coun Murray said he had not seen any details of the allegations at this stage so could not say anything about the case.

A Wigan Council spokesperson said: “We have received a complaint that will be investigated in accordance with our code of conduct procedure.”

Coun Murray said: “I have received no formal notification of this from Wigan Council so therefore I have nothing to comment on.”

It is thought the accusation must refer to Coun Murray retweeting a message that is several months old as Mrs Fairhurst lost her seat in the chamber to the Conservatives’ Adam Marsh in the May local election.

Conduct on social media has recently been a hot topic at the town hall.

Wigan Council condemned former Standish independent councillor Gareth Fairhurst after he used an offensive term on Facebook to describe the local authority chief executive Donna Hall.

The town hall said it was an example of the kind of abuse high-profile women in public life have to put up with on a regular basis and urged Wiganers to “take a stand against such hatred” on its official Twitter account.

The council’s stance generated a lot of support online from residents, fellow public sector workers and leaders elsewhere in the country and the borough and local politicians.

The Post understands Coun Murray has been reported as his accusers believe there are some double standards involved with Labour representatives able to get away with things that would see opposition figures hauled up for punishment.

They are now challenging the standards’ panel to act in this case which they say involves a female resident of the borough being insulted.

The treatment of women online has been in the public eye throughout this year, with councillors pledging to stand up to cyber abuse at the April full council meeting.