DUDLEY’S political leaders got wrapped up in a Christmas cracker of a row sparked by a Facebook news report.
The network got anti-social when Dudley deputy leader cllr Pete Lowe, Conservative group chief cllr Patrick Harley and UKIP bigwig Bill Etheridge traded online blows after the News broke the story of the resignation from the Tory party of former council cabinet member Adrian Turner.
Mr Turner announced he was quitting the party following the recent resignation of his parents, cllrs Ken and Hazel Turner, from the Conservatives.
The story’s internet appearance prompted Labour’s cllr Lowe to claim the departure is another example of the “total mess” the Dudley Conservative group is in, and urge Mr Turner to return to “haunt those who made him leave.”
The remarks caused a festive fightback from cllr Harley, he said: “Ho Ho Ho Pete, Your (sic) so funny. I’ll tell you what is happening to the local Conservatives. We are selecting people who will get on with fighting you guys instead of each other.”
Cllr Lowe had little Christmas goodwill for a suggestion voters should turn from the Tories to UKIP, dismissing the euro-sceptic party as “even more barmy” and wanting to implement parts of Sharia law.
Cllr Lowe’s remarks referred to a report in the Daily Mail quoting comments they claim were made in a speech by Dudley UKIP member Dean Perks.
The chairman of Dudley and Halesowen UKIP, Bill Etheridge, waded in immediately, branding the claims a lie.
Mr Etheridge said: “You know very well we do not advocate sharia law (sic) and we are against it. Feeling the need to spread this nonsense is quite sad.”
However Adrian Turner and cllr Lowe, who both represented the Lye and Stourbridge North ward until Mr Turner was voted out in 2012, seemed on better terms during the debate, sharing seasonal good cheer by agreeing to meet up for a drink.