County transport boss under investigation over ‘offensive’ Tweets

THE man in charge of Northumberland’s transport system is being investigated over alleged offensive posts on social media.

County Council Head of Sustainable Transport Mike Scott has been accused of making the comments via Twitter.

The thread, which dates from July to September and appears under the name and profile picture of Mr Scott, is littered with offensive language and includes crude descriptions of national politicians Eric Pickles and George Osborne, criticism of NHS management, political comment and a remark referring to a ‘lazy benefits scrounger’.

On the day after a public meeting about the Telford Bridge traffic lights in Morpeth, a post reads: “After last night I officially h8 all bus drivers”.

Images of the feed have been posted on a Facebook campaign page that seeks the removal of the traffic lights.

It is not known if the posts are genuine.

When contacted by the Herald last week, Northumberland County Council initially refused to comment on the issue or confirm that an investigation was taking place, but this week, after the cancellation of a meeting organised by Mr Scott to discuss the traffic lights, the authority admitted that it was looking into a complaint.

A council spokeswoman said: “We’re aware of a complaint by a member of the public and it would be inappropriate to comment further until an internal investigation has been carried out.”

Mr Scott, who is currently on four weeks’ leave from the council, declined to comment.

David Clark, who set up the Facebook campaign page, said: “Given the severity of these Twitter feeds, I think it should be left for the correct processes to be gone through. Trial by media, be it Facebook or any other media, may be inappropriate.”

A meeting of key stakeholders was due to take place on Monday to kick off the county council’s Morpeth traffic review, which will consider the town’s entire road network, including the controversial traffic lights.

However, it was called off due to council staff shortages.

Lights Out campaign Chairman David Towns said: “Following a constructive meeting between myself, Conservative Group leader Peter Jackson and officers at County Hall, highways bosses agreed to undertake a full review of Morpeth’s traffic system so that a range of options could be put to the public.

“At least one option would include the removal of the lights and that was a major concession on their part. However, the inaugural meeting of stakeholders has now been postponed due to an unrelated matter involving the senior officer.

“We’ll have to see when the review can get under way, but it must be soon.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The meeting was cancelled due to a lack of staff. We didn’t have enough staff to attend the meeting, but we are going to reconvene as soon as possible.”