British local authority uses Twitter account to mock government minister

Walsall Council used its Twitter account to lampoon members of the British government, in the face of impartiality rules

Lord Charles, or Michael Gove if you ask Walsall Council
The Commentator
On 7 July 2012 18:19

A British local council has used its official Twitter account to send out mocking tweets about British government ministers.

As a taxpayer funded form of communication, the Walsall Council Twitter feed is supposed to be an impartial source of information by local residents, however on Saturday evening, one of the Council's Communications team used the account to distribute an image mocking Education Minister Michael Gove.

The tweet included the hashtag, #saveusfromtheposhboys and linked to an image of the now deceased ventriloquist Ray Alan's dummy known as 'Lord Charles' who was often depicted as a drunk.

While the Communications department at the Council is closed at weekends, The Commentator has learned from council documents that those responsible for the Twitter feed are:

Dan Slee - Senior Press and PR Officer

Kim Neville - Press and PR Manager

Natalie Greenway - Press and PR Officer

Richard Bolton - Press and PR Officer 

Tina Faulkner - Press and PR Officer

While it is unclear at this point who sent the offending tweet, the update was deleted momentarily after it was posted, although a copy has been saved by The Commentator and can be viewed here.

Walsall Council documents insist that the Communications team's role "is to promote the council’s vision, priorities, services and events to all relevant residents and customers."

In 2009/10 the Communications department had a budget of almost half a million pounds and sent nearly 1000 press releases. 

UPDATE  (19:46)

Walsall Council has now tweeted that it believes its Twitter account was 'hacked' and has apologised for the offensive tweets:

It appears our account has been hacked. We apologise for any offence from earlier tweets / use of hashtags

UPDATE (10:15)

Tweeter @SkyeHE yesterday noted that the only other person to use the #saveusfromtheposhboys hashtag was Walsall Council's Marketing Officer, Ian Morton-Jones, tweeting from his account at @mjian

@Friends_Liberty Exactly. Also, it's such a coincidence that the only other tweeter to use that hashtag is their marketing officer!

Coalition ignored Financial Services Authority warning on rate fixing via @MailOnline#saveusfromtheposhboys

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