Cornwall councillors detail verbal abuse and threats they receive on social media and in person

Cornwall councillors have described being subjected to abuse, threats of violence and sick messages on a regular basis, a report has revealed.

The Local Government Association (LGA) carried out a survey that showed seven in 10 councillors nationally had experienced abuse or intimidation of some kind and that it was a similar picture in Cornwall

In a subsequent Cornwall-specific survey by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, some county councillors revealed that they had received messages telling them to 'die' whilst others said they had been targeted through social media.

Other stories of the abuse included members of the public threatening to burn down a councillor's home over planning applications. One councillor detailed how false claims they were having an affair seriously affected their personal life.

Social media was found to be the main source of the abuse that the councillors suffered. They all wish to remain anonymous.

LGA Chairman James Jamieson said: “Councillors are as much a part of the community as those they represent, and they should not expect to be subjected to any form of abuse because of their position. Debating and disagreeing with one another is an essential part of democracy, however abuse has no place in politics and stops residents from engaging in local government and councillors from reaching their full potential in the role.

“Council officers, including some frontline staff, are also reporting higher levels of abuse which is completely unacceptable. We need to see concrete action to protect current councillors and ensure potential future councillors feel safe to stand for election. Anyone, regardless of their background or political affiliation, should feel safe and proud to represent their community.”

  • Report carried out by LDRS.