A MEMBER of Powys County Council’s cabinet could have fallen foul of purdah rules.

Complaints have been made about tweets posted by Cllr James Evans, (Conservative – Gwernyfed) the portfolio holder for corporate governance, housing & public protection, about the Liberal Democrat campaign.

He has been advised to change his twitter biography for the rest of the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election campaign.

Residents making the complaints have been told  to contact the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales about it.

Since the allegations were made, Cllr Evans has now changed the profile of his @James_Evans91 account to: “Had to temporarily remove my bio due to political mischief making views are my own and not that of any organisation.”

Cllr Liam Fitzpatrick (Non-aligned – Talybont-on-Usk) said that a couple of residents in his ward had complained about Cllr Evans’ tweets.

Clllr Fitzpatrick, said: “I fully support my residents concerns that this deserves investigation.”

Cllr Fitzpatrick added that the resident would now take the issue up with the Ombudsman as she fears it could affect people’s voting intentions.

“She also made the point that she read it as coming from the portfolio holder for corporate governance in the Powys cabinet which was clearly designated at the top of the twitter account, added Cllr Fitzpatrick.”

Cllr Evans said: “I have changed my bio following advice, and I feel this complaint is stooping low and is trying to stop democratic free speech.

“This is a personal account that I have had since 2012, before I became a councillor.

“@PowysCabinet is the corporate account for the cabinet.”

As the Local Democracy Service wrote this article the @PowysCabinet account has not tweeted anything since August 7, 2018.

A spokesman for PCC, said: “The council is not investigating.

“Complaints about councillors are dealt with by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

“Guidance about the election period was issued to all members and staff.”

Under purdah rules PCC work is supposed to be restricted to maintain a neutral stance.

No major political decision can be taken in case it affects the by-election outcome which takes place on August 1.

Even PCC’s itinerary for the Royal Welsh Show has been downgraded for fear of giving one of the candidates an advantage.

Advice covering a number of situation has been given to staff and councillors.

They include Twitter: Publicity material on behalf of the campaign will not be permitted on the council’s website, intranet (including the official and general noticeboard), Twitter or Facebook pages.

Relevant points on the use of Twitter include:

Do not re-tweet political parties, politicians or political opinion.

Do not tweet on matters which are politically controversial.

Councillors have also been told if in doubt to:  contact the chief executive, the monitoring officer or the principal elections officer for advice.