Dispute after Royal Borough leader is denied access to Facebook group

The leader of the Royal Borough has described a decision to block his access to an Old Windsor community Facebook group as ‘suppressing democracy’.

A dispute broke out between Conservative councillor Simon Dudley and one of the administrators of the We Love Old Windsor group, after his request to join was refused.

The row then migrated to Twitter, with tweets from the @RBWMTories account calling for the group to be reported for political bias if it did not accept the council leader’s request.

Cllr Dudley told the Express: “It looked to me like there was a concerted effort to restrict access to people politically.

“There’s 4,800 people in that group so in my opinion that’s just not on. By stopping people coming in you are suppressing democracy.”

He added that as leader of the Royal Borough, he was keen to find out about the issues affecting residents in Old Windsor so he could try and address them.

But Leader of the Opposition Cllr Lynne Jones (Ind Old Windsor) hit back and said that the group, of which she is a member, had strict rules on no political posts and was not run by any political group.

She said: “We Love Old Windsor has always had a rule of no political posts and it’s been that way since the start.

“It’s a community-help website where residents can talk to each other and it really came into its own during incidents like the floods in 2014.

“To throw your toys out of the pram for not being able to access a community website before the election is just politics at its worst.”

She also criticised the @RBWMTories Twitter account for its messages which targeted the administration team behind the Old Windsor Facebook group.

Arlene Carson, a Conservative candidate for Old Windsor ward at the council elections in May, was accepted to the group.

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  • mnc80

    08:08, 08 February 2019

    Mr Dudley does not seem to worry about "suppressing democracy" when it comes to blocking local residents to disagree with him on Twitter. Please see the Twitter page @BlockedByDudley if you're interested in examples

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  • craig

    22:10, 07 February 2019

    I have this week written to Cllr Dudley, the Prime Minister and the conservative group regarding allegations of a policy of discrimination by the party against residents on social media. This letter is also with the MA. I'd be interested to read Simon's reply given this article.

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