An Independent View: Freedom to be foolish

It is deeply worrying when a councillor is disciplined by fellow councillors.

It is deeply worrying when a councillor is disciplined by fellow councillors - even when he has said something as asinine as Councillor Ben Duncan did in his two infamous tweets.

Cllr Duncan's comments may have been ill-judged jokes, as he claims in his article - or thoughtless insults, as many would argue. It is difficult to be certain on the evidence of 140 characters.

But for an elected representative to be hauled in front of a "star chamber" simply for exercising freedom of speech, within the law, is a bad precedent. Indeed, it is in danger of becoming a habit in Brighton and Hove. Remember the case of Councillor Dawn Barnett and her "golliwog" comment?

It is for the citizens of Queen's Park to decide Cllr Duncan's fate. And they will get their chance on May 7 next year.

After all, if councillors were to be disciplined every time they made asinine comments, who would be left to run the city?