It is the second time Barnsley’s Brexit campaign has had a brush with the authorities as the council’s opposition groupÂ has already been warned against using its town hall office for general election campaigning purposes.
South Yorkshire Police have confirmed they have received two complaints about Coun David Wood, who is a member of Penistone Town Council, as a result of a post made on social media, offering free food at his fish and chip shop in the town should Brexit candidates for the Barnsley Central and Barnsley East constituencies win the seats.
That is a practice commonly referred to as ‘treating’ and is not allowed under the Representation of the People Act 1983.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman confirmed the force has received two complaints regarding the matter.
Coun Wood’s post on Facebook read: “Election Promise! Help Woody’s to REMOVE our two current Labour MPs from their seats in Westminster in favour of Jim Feguson for Barnsley East and Victoria Felton for Barnsley Central.
“Our promise to the electorate of Barnsley is to offer FREE Cod Bits & Chips to everyone that visits our shop on December the 13th in celebration of turfing Labour MPs out of Barnsley. You can count on us to deliver. Promise.”
When contacted by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Coun Wood said he had no had any contact regarding the Facebook post, but said he would remove it, which has now happened.
But he defended his position and said: “What is Jeremy Corbyn doing, giving free broadband?
“I can take the post down but I will be putting it back up the day after, when we win. No-one has contacted me from the police.
“I am not associated with the Brexit Party, apart from helping the candidates. That is my treat to my customers after the Brexit party win. If they don’t win, they won’t get it,” he said.
Last week it emerged the Barnsley Independent Group on Barnsley Council had been told to stop using its office in the town hall for electioneering after a photograph also emerged on social media.
The council contacted all political parties to clarify that their offices should be used for local authority business only.
Coun Victoria Felton is a councillor for the Monk Bretton ward, where Coun Wood’s fish and chip shop is sited. She was elected to the council in May standing for the Democrats and Veterans party, but is now an independent and has been working with the Barnsley Independent Group, the main opposition to the ruling Labour party.
BIG had intended fielding its own candidates for the Barnsley constituencies but pulled back on that idea after Coun Felton was selected to represent the Brexit party, as BIG support leaving the EU.
Coun Wood has previously had questions to answer over his use of Facebook. He confirmed an investigation by Barnsley Council, sparked by complaints to comments attributed to him remains unresolved.
Those comments predate his election to Penistone Town Council in May, but resulted in a complaint. Such matters are dealt with through Barnsley Council and Coun Wood said he had a meeting with a senior official last week in an attempt to bring the matter to a conclusion.
Provided by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.