West Midlands Police have told the leader of a Labour-controlled town council to stop wasting police time after he repeatedly instructed them to arrest a political blogger and threatened to escalate the matter to the Home Secretary if they didn’t comply with his wishes.
Labour councillor and Sandwell council leader Steve Eling demanded the “immediate arrest” of blogger Julian Saunders, who runs the Sandwell Skidder blog, in an email to the local police force.
Underlining his desire for the blogger to be behind bars, the West Midlands councillor told officers if they didn’t heed his demands he would refer the matter upwards. He wrote: “If you do not act, it will become a matter for the home secretary”, reports The Times.
Although West Midlands Police have already been heavily involved in the case, it appears a limit has been reached. The paper reported Chief Superintendent Richard Baker told the local politician in reply that his officers had already spent what was reported as a “disproportionate amount of time on the allegations”, that it was not their responsibility to intervene, and that the councillor was wasting officer’s time.
While the council has complained the comments made by the blogger are libellous, local government does not have the right in law to sue the blogger. A 1983 ruling on the matter found: “Local Authorities must be open to criticism as political and administrative bodies, and so cannot be allowed to sue in defamation. Such a right would operate as ‘a chill factor’ on free speech.”
The demand for arrest came amid an apparently long-running battle between the blogger, reportedly a former solicitor, and the council. Saunders reports on what he claims is massive corruption and dodgy dealings by the council and councillors, using often colourful language in his posts.
Saunders claims he has been interviewed at a police station four times for his blog and is being prosecuted for “the use of a single swear word”. Noting he is “up for trial at Dudley Magistrates’ Court” in January for calling a councillor a rude name, the blogger invited his followers for a pint at a nearby pub after the hearing.
Local newspaper the Express and Star reports Sandwell Council has previously succeeded in getting blogger Saunders’ social media accounts suspended down by complaining to Twitter, and that he was in court in October 2018 for allegedly harassing Sandwell Council’s chief executive Jan Britton.
The revelation that a senior local Labour official had repeatedly attempted to use the police to silence criticism of a Labour-led council comes amid a significant and ongoing controversy over harassment and bullying in Labour, and especially against Jews.
Breitbart London has reported at length at the new culture of anti-Semitism and bullying now apparently prevalent in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, which has become so acute it made the Simon Wiesenthal Center Jewish human rights organisation 2018 list of most concerning anti-Semitism incidents.
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