A NEW Ukip councillor who posted on Facebook just weeks before he was elected he wanted to “get away from Southend” has assured voters he is not leaving the borough.
Lawrence Davies, who won a seat on Southend Council for Kursaal ward last month, has accused Labour politicians of taking old postings “out of context” to discredit him.
He spoke out after Labour activist Matthew Dent, who unsuccessfully stood in West Shoebury ward won by Southend Ukip leader James Moyies, published Mr Lawrence’s now deleted Facebook postings on his A Mad Man With a Blog website.
The postings show that on April 21, a month before the election, Mr Lawrence said: “Always let down by those we think are our friends...looking forward to getting away from Southend maybe finding new and better friends.”
After being asked by friends whose identities were obscured what was happening he added the next day: “I’m moving back to Cambridge in August.”
Mr Dent, who is also spokesman for Labour councillor Ian Gilbert in his campaign to take James Duddridge’s Rochford and Southend East seat next year, blogged that Ukip had a “high casualty rate” for elected politicians and added: “Perhaps councillor Davies has changed his mind. Perhaps he will stay, and represent those who elected him to the best of his ability.
Or perhaps he will go back to Cambridge, and trigger a byelection costing the local taxpayer some £14,000.”
Mr Lawrence confirmed he had accepted a job offer to teach in Cambridge, but insisted he will be remaining in Kursaal and commuting each day to the job.
He said: “I can confirm I have never made plans to leave Southend. I can only assume this is part of the campaign to slander Ukip, and me in particular, though I'm not sure why.
“The only time I mentioned leaving Southend was in an old Facebook comment, long before the election and since deleted.
“I have been offered a teaching job near Cambridge, but I made it clear I would commute daily from my Kursaal ward, in Southend. I have told my friends, but the job offer is not public knowledge and I accepted it on condition I would stay in Southend.
“So I can confirm there is no truth to this story, and I have taken it all with a pinch of salt so far, just like accusations of racism, often levelled at Ukip councillors.”
He added that as other people’s postings around his Facebook comments had been obscured on the Labour blog, his comments were being used “out of context”.