THE new chairman of BCP Council’s standards board has been left "hurt and upset" by “unkind” Twitter posts over his lack of experience after he was elected to the post last week.

In an unorthodox move, Cllr Daniel Butt, who only joined the council in 2019, has written to all councillors and chief executive, Graham Farrant, saying he is unhappy – but he is not making a formal complaint.

He said: “I would ask that all members please stop using social media to personally attack other members.”

And he added: “I simply ask that we all draw a line under this upsetting event and ensure that we do everything possible to uphold the Code of Conduct and hopefully make every effort to be kind to each other in future.”

Independent Cllr Butt, the son of veteran Tory councillor Judy Butt, complained about posts from the former council leader, Liberal Democrat Vikki Slade, and newly elected Christchurch Independent Vanessa Ricketts, who has 25 years of experience as a senior local government officer.

Cllr Slade posted after the vote: “So let me get this right. None of the Tory councillors felt Vanessa Ricketts was better than someone with NO experience who wouldn’t give a speech explaining why he wanted the role but one of them thought she was better than the current vice chair. This is a farce!”

She also wrote: “This is a complete joke. Cllr Butt was only added to the standards committee a few weeks ago and has never attended a meeting. We have nominated Cllr Ricketts a qualified monitoring officer.”

Cllr Ricketts posted: “Unfortunately 25 years of LG experience, having been a deputy monitoring officer, Standards investigating officer and being on the panel board for Standards in Public Life was not considered suitable experience. C’est la vie.”

The latest row over standards comes just a few days after the Echo revealed the huge numbers of complaints made by BCP councillors about each other. Over the past two years, comments on social media have been the biggest source of complaints.

There are also issues over people being able to lodge complaints anonymously and lack of transparency in Standards Board deliberations and decisions.

Outgoing board chairman Cllr Steve Baron, also wrote a letter to all members last week complaining about “a patronising rant” from another councillor.

Cllr Slade, who had proposed the politically experienced Cllr Ann Stribley as chair and Cllr Ricketts as vice chair of Standards told the Echo: “Cllr Butt should have given members a reason to vote for him. I am sorry he feels hurt but he could have made a speech to build support.”

She said the secret vote to elect Cllr Butt made “a mockery of the system.’’

Independent councillor Nigel Brooks a paid “lead member” of the Conservative administration was elected vice chairman.

The Daily Echo approached Cllr Butt for comment but he did not return calls. However, the BCP Council press office sent a statement which only addressed generic standards board issues but not the story directly.