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Basildon Labour group row moves to Twitter
THE LEADER of Basildon Labour group has called on a former party member to retract claims she resigned after being subjected to offensive tweets.
Nigel Smith says Pat Rackley has been unable to produce evidence there were “a series of offensive tweets” from other group members before she resigned this month that had upset her husband Phil Rackley following his resignation days earlier.
It is the latest spat in a party row that saw three councillors resign the whip since former group leader Lynda Gordon left in January.
Mr Smith said: “Mrs Rackley was reported in the Echo making unsubstantiated claims that group members made offensive remarks on Twitter and she has since been unable to provide any evidence. There was certainly no incident as described that gave her grounds to the extent of leaving the party she been elected to represent.”
When asked about the tweets Mrs Rackley produced a small number written by councillor Gavin Callaghan about the resignation of Mrs Gordon.
The tweets from Mr Callaghan to Basildon Tory group leader Tony Ball suggested she resigned due to disciplinary action for not turning up at meetings.
The Labour group confirmed Mr Callaghan’s tweets about Mrs Gordon went against a group instruction not to discuss her resignation on social media, and that he was spoken to and the matter closed.
Alan Bennett, chief whip of the Labour group said Mrs Rackley accepted this decision at a group meeting, but then stormed out of the room, later resigning after Mr Callaghan requested an apology.
However, Mr Smith maintained the tweets about Mrs Gordon were not enough to lead to Mrs Rackley resigning and he suggested she owed her electorate a proper explanation for her decision to go.
Mrs Rackley declined to comment.