Councillor forced to defend Twitter 'gaffe'

A LABOUR councillor in Sheffield has been forced to defend her party's record in government after she admitted on the internet that she believedher party had not effectively tackled inequality.

Liberal Democrat opponents accused Mosborough councillor Isobel Bowler of admitting in private what she refused to say in public, after she posted on her Twitter account: "Inequalities deepened despite our 13 years in power."

Lib Dems said Labour councillors have repeatedly defended Labour's record on equality in public debates.

The online gaffe comes nearly a year after Coun Bowler, who was elected last May, inadvertently revealed on her Twitter site that she had never visited her Mosborough ward before and complained she would be doing a lot of travelling from her home in Ranmoor.

Her account has now been blocked to the public.

Lib Dem deputy council leader Coun David Baker said: "Personally I'm a bit of a technophobe, so I'm not a big fan of Twitter.

"However, one thing I do welcome is some of the revealing comments made on there by Labour councillors when they let their guard down.

"Thanks to this latest on-line blunder we now know that Labour councillors finally accept their government widened the inequality gap, although only in private when they think it won't be reported.

"Instead of arguing things that they know not to be true, Labour should be asking themselves why inequalities deepened despite unprecedented amounts of taxpayer's money being spent."

But Coun Bowler mounted a fierce defence of her party's record and said: "I think it's astonishing that the Lib Dems have nothing better to do than monitor Twitter feeds, particularly now when they should be focusing on delivering the best deal for Sheffield in the midst of the largest cuts the council has ever seen.

"The Labour government helped 600,000 children out of poverty, created the minimum wage and invested in programmes to prevent youth unemployment.

"However, we recognise that much more is to be done and Ed Miliband has acknowledged that the gap between the richest and poorest in our society is something that must be addressed.

This is why Labour has argued for policies such as a living wage, which will improve the incomes of many people on low pay."