Sidmouth: Former councillor criticises East Devon MP Simon Jupp for blocking Facebook comments
By Will Goddard
25th Nov 2021 | Local News
A former East Devon politician has accused the area's MP of attempting to "censor" residents after blocking comments on his Facebook page.
Ex-Devon County Councillor (DCC) Claire Wright says Simon Jupp MP's (Conservatives) decision to stop people from being able to comment on his Facebook posts showed that he was not willing to listen to residents.
Ms Wright stood as an independent against Simon Jupp MP in the 2019 general election, coming in second place. She had previously lost two general elections to Mr Jupp's predecessor as Conservative candidate, Sir Hugo Swire.
Ms Wright said: "The move to censor comments on his Facebook page comes after a torrid few weeks of being challenged by his constituents and by me on his voting record.
"It also appears to be an escalation of a pattern which has seen dozens of residents who are politely challenging him, blocked from his social media platforms since he was elected in 2019.
"That he has now blocked Facebook comments shows that he is on transmit and not receive. This does not demonstrate the qualities of a thoughtful and effective representative, nor does it demonstrate [a] willingness to be held publicly accountable, or even to listen, except on his own limited terms."
Mr Jupp responded, saying: "If you live in the East Devon constituency and need my help or want to raise policy matters, the best way to get in touch is via email, letter or phone. Unfortunately, monitoring social media can be a full-time job in itself and I wouldn't want to miss the opportunity to help a local resident.
"I hold regular surgeries and my office in Exmouth marks the first time that East Devon's MP has a dedicated office in the constituency. As thousands of constituents have discovered since I was elected nearly two years ago, I am here to help."
Mr Jupp said that eight people had been blocked from his Facebook page "after continual abuse, defamation and bullying of other contributors."
Comments have been switched off on the page for everyone. Old comments have not been deleted.
The MP's Facebook page has just under 1,000 'likes' and almost 1,300 followers.