Staffordshire councillor quitting over sickening abuse

He has represented his home village of Essington as a councillor for 16 years and worked tirelessly for his community.

Staffordshire councillor quitting over sickening abuse

But Councillor David Clifft says he has decided to step down following a 'sickening and hurtful' hate campaign against him on social media.

Mr Clifft, who is chairman of Essington Parish Council, says his family has been left so upset over material on The Only Way Is Essington Facebook page that he no longer feels comfortable representing the village.

Mr Clifft announces he is to step down on Facebook

He says he also plans to resign from his position on South Staffordshire Council, which he has sat on since 2003.

The page, which was set up earlier this week, accuses him of 'bullying tactics' and 'messing with the lives and businesses' of local residents. It also features doctored photographs containing images of Mr Clifft that he says are 'deeply offensive'.

Mr Clifft told the Express & Star that he is ready to relinquish both positions in the wake of what he calls 'a completely unacceptable campaign' against him.

"I came back from a council meeting and my wife was in floods of tears over the contents of this page," Mr Clifft said.

"Some of the posts and comments on there are absolutely disgusting.

"I can take the abuse, but this has had an impact on my family. I have considered my position and decided that enough is enough.

"In this day and age it seems people can make unfounded allegations against me from their armchair and get away with it. It's quite sickening really."

A mocking post from the Only Way is Essington page
One of the photo mock-ups that upset Mr Clifft

The Facebook page was liked by around 650 people in 48 hours and includes a number of 'mocked up' photographs.

Another image shows Mr Clifft's head placed on the body of a one-legged man on crutches, with a caption that appears to link him with the theft of a training shoe.

One post reads: "He loves the naming and shaming of local residents and messing with lives and businesses."

Mr Clifft, who has served as a magistrate since 2002, says he received a flood of messages of support after he announced he was considering stepping down on his own Facebook page this week.

And his wife Denise, called Dee on Facebook, hit back at the insults with a post on her own page.

David's wife Dee leaps to her husband's defence

She wrote: "These hate campaigners don't half do a good job in boosting support for David! Huge amounts of kindness and lovely comments from genuine people flooded in last night. "

Following Mr Clifft's announcement a post on The Only Way Is Essington appeared, stating: "Right then people. The love affairs all over. The points been proven and we will be back if the bullying tactics stay the same. God bless amen. Essington a great community."

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