THE leader of Wrexham Council has been accused of using senior officers to snoop on his opponents on social media.

Plaid Cymru politicians have criticised Cllr Mark Pritchard, who heads up the authority’s ruling administration, after receiving a series of phone calls about comments on Facebook and Twitter since they were elected in 2017.

Queensway representative Carrie Harper said on each occasion they were informed by officials that the leader of the Independent Group was “upset” by what they had written.

She said the posts were aimed at making the council “more transparent” and raising awareness of its decisions.

The authority has denied keeping tabs on Plaid Cymru members, but Cllr Harper said she was contacted as recently as last week after publishing a status on Facebook denouncing late amendments to Wrexham’s Local Development Plan.

In the post, she accused senior councillors of striking a “secret deal” which could result in the area missing out on nearly 800 affordable homes.

The Leader:

Plaid Cymru councillor Carrie Harper. Image: Plaid Cymru

She said: “I was told the leader was ‘upset’ at a post on my Facebook page criticising the move and the comments members of the public were making underneath it.

“I was advised to review and censure what was on there.

“There seems to be a pattern of Plaid councillors being targeted in this way over the past 18 months. It’s bizarre.

“Plaid Cymru very much believes in ensuring Wrexham Council becomes a much more open and transparent organisation.

“We won’t stop highlighting issues we feel the people of Wrexham should be aware of. It is in fact our job to do just that.

”But is it really a good use of public money to use senior council officers to police Plaid Cymru’s social media?”

Cllr Harper added she was previously threatened with legal action for sharing footage of a council meeting online.

In response to her comments, the authority said it does not routinely monitor councillors’ accounts and only investigates if any issues are flagged up with officers.

A spokesman said: “All elected members are subject to social media guidelines and the code of conduct which they must adhere to.

“It is the council’s monitoring officer’s role to consider concerns raised when brought to their attention.”