Berwick MP’s press secretary resigns after controversy

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The press secretary of Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has resigned after becoming embroiled in another controversy.

Georgina Hill was heavily involved in a heated meeting of Rothbury Parish Council last Wednesday to which police were called.

It came just days after she was formally censured by Berwick Town Council and removed from her role as chairman of finance.

And last month she was judged to be a bully by a Northumberland County Council standards committee which deemed that she failed to comply with four aspects of the town council’s Code of Conduct.

A statement released by Mrs Trevelyan confirmed: “Georgina Hill, a member of my staff, resigned following her ill advised behaviour and lack of judgement at Rothbury Parish Council meeting last week, and her deeply offensive comments on Facebook.

“I do not condone in any way her comments and was horrified that a member of my staff behaved in such a way. I have accepted Miss Hill’s resignation with immediate effect.”

Miss Hill, in her resignation letter, said: “Last Wednesday, I attended a Rothbury Parish Council meeting. I did so in my personal capacity and as part of my campaign for local government reform and greater transparency.

“The issues which Berwick Town Council has faced, over the last two years, are sadly not isolated and too many Town and Parish Councils in Northumberland, and elsewhere, are facing similar problems.

“The problems can be defined by a lack of transparency, poor governance arrangements and inadequate financial controls; with certain individuals and state officials running towns and villages as if they were their own personal fiefdoms.

“I am also acutely aware from personal experience, how individuals, acting as whistleblowers, can be subject to personal attacks and face reprisals for challenging the status quo and holding these Councils to account.

“However, I entirely accept that as a member of your staff, I should not have attended and addressed this meeting, at least not without your prior knowledge and consent.

“This meeting became highly charged, and I became embroiled in the heated discussions after being shocked at suggestions that the “law was an ass” for allowing members of the public to attend meetings, that certain individuals should be excluded and the attempts to intimidate and belittle a member of the Rothbury community (as well as the small group from Berwick) for seeking to participate in the democratic process and scrutinise the use of public money.

“Again, I entirely accept that as a member of your staff, I should not have become involved in this way.

“After the meeting, I posted an ill-judged and intemperate comment on social media. There was absolutely no intention to cause offence but I sincerely apologise to residents of Rothbury, as well as to yourself, for the insensitively of this remark and any offence caused.

“I am also aware that in this, and in recent events, I have broken the cardinal rule and “have become the story”.

“In short, sadly, there is a irreconcilable conflict between my own campaign work, and profile, and that as a member of staff for an MP.

“It has been an absolute privilege to work for you, I have seen first hand how passionate you are about fighting injustice, solving problems, improving the lives of all your constituents and helping others and I would not wish to be a distraction as you continue your excellent work as our MP.

“I, therefore, with regret, tender my resignation.”