Former councillor banned after Facebook posts called for killing of three politicians
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
A former councillor has been temporarily banned from standing for election after posting on Facebook calling for the killing of three politicians.
Phil Baguley stepped down from Sully and Lavernock community council last September but has been disqualified from standing again for 15 months.
His ban, by the Adjudication Panel for Wales, was previously reported earlier in January, but the contents of the three posts which were found to breach the code of conduct were then not yet known.
Now, a new report into the ban has revealed Mr Baguley publicly called on Facebook for the killing of three female MPs: Yvette Cooper, Anna Soubry and Diane Abbott.
Responding to an article about Yvette Cooper, Mr Baguley said: “This b*tch is driving remain when the people of her constituency overwhelmingly voted out. A traitorous cow and I hope she ends up with a noose around her neck.”
Posting an article about Shamima Begum, a British-born woman who went to Syria aged 15 to join the Islamic State, Mr Baguley said: “I hope she does carry out some atrocity; Anna Soubry would be my chosen target.”
Commenting on a video of Diane Abbott, Mr Baguley said: “F*cking idiot! Get me a gun please.”
The three posts were made between January and March 2019, while the Adjudication Panel made the decision to ban Mr Baguley in December 2020. The 15-month disqualification begins from that decision, so he can stand again in next year’s local elections in May 2022.
In a statement, Mr Baguley said he stands by the comments he made on Facebook, claiming it was not sexist to call for the death of three female MPs.
He said: “I stand by my comments and I do have a deep and historic dislike for the Labour party and its MPs; in particular their attempts to derail Brexit and their failure to represent the traditional Labour areas who voted primarily for Brexit.
“I would also point out that the posts were neither sexist or racist, which is what the original complainant (anonymous) claimed and I will take legal action against anyone claiming they are.
“I want a life ban, not 15 months, and never ever want to be a part of Sully and Lavernock community council, as it’s a dysfunctional and toxic council which provides nothing for the community.”
The report revealing the content of the Facebook posts was published ahead of a meeting of the Vale of Glamorgan council’s standards committee, on Thursday, January 28.
Writing to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, who referred the case to the Adjudication Panel, Mr Baguley said he agreed his comments about hoping Ms Cooper would be hanged “were a bit strong”.
He added the comments about a gun and Ms Abbott were supposed to mean: “I would rather turn a gun on myself rather than listen to her.” He also said he thought the posts were private, not public.
The Adjudication Panel found the comments “went far beyond what could reasonably be considered to be political expression … and were inflammatory and an expression of views which were extreme, threatening in nature and promoted violence towards individuals.
“The comments could not be dignified by the description of political expression. The comments were personal, disturbing and gratuitous verbal attacks, not political expression.
“The Case Tribunal concluded that the three Facebook posts were so egregious, inflammatory and violent, that they offended against all notions of peace, safety, decency and democracy within society.”
The panel added the 15-month ban was needed to “maintain confidence in local democracy”. They said Mr Baguley was “unfit for public office” and needed to “reflect on his conduct before contemplating re-entering local politics”.