A bitter row has erupted after a Green Party councillor was publicly accused of using an anonymous Twitter account to attack Labour councillors.
The account in question, named Arma Dillo, has made numerous barbed comments towards St Helens Labour since it was set up in September 2017.
Controversial Labour councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron, ward councillor for Newton, has regularly been on the receiving end of the account’s abuse.
Just this week the anonymous account branded St Helens Council leader David Baines “diminutive” and called Coun Gomez-Aspron “possibly the worst councillor in the country”.
The ugly row unfolded on Twitter on Tuesday when Coun Gomez-Aspron alleged Arma Dillo is actually Green Party councillor David O’Keefe, who was elected to represent Bold in May.
Coun O’Keefe told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) he “firmly refutes” the accusations and claims Labour is trying to “smear and discredit” him.
Speaking on Twitter, Coun Gomez-Aspron claimed Coun O’Keefe forgot to log out of the Arma Dillo account before responding to another user.
A screenshot shows Arma Dillo accuse Newton councillor Jeanie Bell of “trolling” under the guise of the Newton Labour Party Facebook.
When challenged how they knew this by another Twitter user, Coun O’Keefe pops up to say: “I know things you don’t know.”
In a now-deleted tweet, Coun Gomez-Aspron said: “Councillor @davidokeefe too thick to realise he hasn’t logged out of his own profile before trying to reply on the Armadillo profile he’s now revealed himself to be running.
“The mask has slipped. And now all being passed to the police and monitoring officer.
Coun O’Keefe hit back, inferring he would be making a formal complaint about the Labour councillor’s conduct to St Helens Council’s monitoring officer.
He also tweeted the leader of the council to ask if Coun Gomez-Aspron had breached the code of conduct.
Coun O’Keefe said: “@davidebaines Is this a breach of the code of conduct? Asking for a friend.”
A post from the Arma Dillo account, which was retweeted by Coun O’Keefe, mocked Coun Gomez-Aspron for deleting his original tweet.
The anonymous account also hit out at a Twitter user who had earlier called Coun O’Keefe a “duplicitous fool’, branding her a “rabid Newton supporter”.
In a separate tweet to the same user, Coun O’Keefe said her “Fuhrer has got this one badly wrong” – a reference to when Coun Gomez-Aspron dressed up as Adolf Hitler at a fancy-dress fund-raiser prior to him becoming a councillor.
Coun Gomez-Aspron took to Twitter again to reiterate his accusation, saying the “anonymous opposition abuse machine is out in force”.
Speaking to the LDRS, Coun O’Keefe accused Labour of using “desperate” tactics after two elected members recently quit the party.
Coun O’Keefe said: “Following the resignation of the Labour whip by two former senior Labour councillors, it’s clear that Labour are resorting to desperate attempts to smear and discredit opposition councillors.”
A Green Party spokesman added: “Coun David O’Keefe firmly refutes the allegations made by a notoriously controversial councillor who has been under investigation by the Labour Party and Merseyside Police in the past over his prior conduct.”
Merseyside Police told the LDRS it has received a report from Coun Gomez-Aspron.
St Helens Council confirmed monitoring officer Mark Fisher has received complaints around the issue.