Peter Burrows

Seaton’s rogue councillor is at it again on Facebook. I’m reporting him to the Liberal Democrats, because this self-appointed Town Censor certainly isn’t a liberal. Paddy Ashdown must be turning in his grave.

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Seaton EDDC and town councillor Peter Burrows (pictured in his Facebook logo with the late Liberal Democrat leader, Paddy Ashdown) resigned as mayor in January after self-confessedly ‘bringing the town council into disrepute’ after abusing a ‘Tourist Information Centre’ Twitter account to pursue a personal grudge.

Now, in the very week in which East Devon’s Monitoring Officer has formally censured him on four counts, Burrows and his co-administrator, Tony Antoniou, have abused their positions as admins on a community Facebook group to remove me from the group, as I found when I tried to post details of the Stagecoach bus consultation to the group, to which I’ve belonged for years. No warning was given and neither has responded to requests for an explanation.

This example of arbitrary censorship raises two fingers to Town Council recommendations – in response to Burrows’ January actions and expected to be adopted in two weeks’ time – that councillors should ‘behave responsibly, considerately and professionally’ on social media and should NOT be Facebook admins.

It is laughable for Burrows to call himself a Liberal Democrat. This self-appointed Town Censor has no respect for the idea that a community Facebook group – the group in question is called Positive Development for Everyone in Seaton and was set up after a community meeting – should be open to a County Councillor to post important local information, and indeed for members to express views different from the admins’.

There is a long history of Burrows arbitrarily removing people and posts from different Facebook groups. I have considerable respect for the Liberal Democrats – their members on the County Council are fine councillors and I work with them closely – but Burrows is bringing his party into disrepute. I am reporting him to their regional organisation for his latest antics.

Seaton Town Council issues statement on Peter Burrows’ actions, announcing meeting on 21st when a motion calling for his resignation as a councillor will be debated

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The statement issued by the Town Clerk earlier today:

On Monday evening 7th January 2019 at the Seaton Town Council meeting, Councillors were advised by Cllr Burrows that he had been involved in an altercation on Facebook which resulted in him referring to himself as Mayor and using a Twitter account named “Seaton TIC” to ask members of the public to “avoid” The Hat micropub. However, Mr Gary Millar, proprietor of The Hat, had not been involved in the altercation and was therefore an entirely innocent party.

Seaton Town Council wishes to make it clear that despite using the term “Mayor”and using what purported to be a Tourist Information Centre account, Cllr Burrows was not authorised to use his title for personal matters, nor was he authorised to represent the TIC. He was acting in a purely private capacity and the Council dissociates itself from his actions. Nevertheless, we apologise unreservedly to Mr Millar and The Hat for the impression which Cllr Burrows gave that he was acting on behalf of the Council.

On Monday Cllr Burrows tendered his resignation as Chairman and Town Mayor because he recognised that his behaviour had brought his office as Town Mayor and the Council into disrepute. The Council will now report Cllr Burrows to the Monitoring Officer for breaching our Code of Conduct. The Council will also be considering a motion at a meeting on Monday 21st January, calling for Cllr Burrows to resign as a Town and District Councillor. The Council has also asked Cllr Burrows to close the Twitter account involved and he has done this.

Seaton Town Council enthusiastically supported the opening of The Hat and recognises the distinctive contribution this attractive, well-run establishment has already made to the town’s life. The Council is keen to support the town centre and The Hat is exactly the kind of new business we want to see in Seaton. Mr Millar has conducted himself with dignity throughout this affair and we deeply regret the harm Cllr Burrows attempted to cause to The Hat. We wish it and Mr Millar the very best for the future.