Following our previous iFAQ on Cllr Franklin, several councillors contacted us to say that while they may have a view on the situation, they felt unable to do so while an investigation was ongoing. That’s fair enough, so following the end of the investigation, we contacted all of the backbench Medway Conservatives again. Surely they would be happy to share their opinions this time around? We sent each of them this question:
Now that Cllr Franklin has been expelled from the Conservative Party, what are your views on how the situation has been handled over the past three years?
As usual, we told everyone that their answers would be published entirely unedited. They are presented below in the order they were received.
I do not agree with any forms of discrimination, intimidation and abuse from and towards politicians.
I also believe that if people show genuine remorse for there actions, they should be afforded a second chance.
From my understanding, Cllr Franklin apologised for his ill thought out retweets at the time and this has been backed up by the interview by Julia George with Cllr Alan Jarrett.
Following the apology, Cllr Franklin was sent on an Equalities and Diversity Course and on top of this, the Medway Council, Councillors Code of Conduct was re-written to cover use of social media, which was agreed unanimously by all the councillors at Full Council.
However we have recently seen that the actions of politicians can have an impact on society in normalising what would be considered as unacceptable by the majority of our society and therefore a tougher stance needs to be taken and higher standards met.
Cllr Mark Joy, Conservative, Strood South
I am not sure there is any benefit in analysing this further, given the public statements already made. But of course, it does remind us all to be so very careful when using social media; one of the pitfalls of easy and fast digital communications is that any error of judgement or unfortunate re-tweet can be very damaging, years later. Even one mistake can erase all the good work someone may have done. That is such a shame.
Cllr Stuart Tranter, Conservative, Rochester West
We received no response from the other 19 Conservative councillors we asked for comment.