Conservative councillor under fire for spreading misinformation in “inflammatory” social media post

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Cllr Marc Frost (Conservative, Wixams and Wilstead). Image supplied by Marc Frost
Cllr Marc Frost (Conservative, Wixams and Wilstead). Image supplied by Marc Frost

A Conservative Bedford Borough councillor has come under fire and is now being investigated by Bedfordshire Police for posting untrue and “inflammatory” claims about Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on his Facebook page

Cllr Marc Frost, who represents Wixams and Wilstead as a borough councillor and Wilstead as a parish councillor, posted a meme that shows a picture of Sir Keir Starmer above the words, ‘Please remember this’.

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It then lists several points that are either untrue or are designed to stir up racial hatred. This includes criticisms of the Labour leader’s support for Black Lives Matter and refers to the Labour Party as “Jew hating”.

Community group Islam Bedford has responded in anger at the post and have said posts like this must not be treated lightly.

“Councillors are required to uphold the Nolan Principles, which cllr Marc Frost has failed in. His comments are inflammatory, which will cause hate and division within the Bedford community and beyond,” said their spokesperson.

“There has been a surge of reported Islamophobia, which has been as a result of comments made by public figures, including politicians and others.”

Another Bedford Muslim we spoke to has said they have an “increased sense of fear” due in part to posts like this from elected officials. They believe posts like this are misinterpreted by some as “permission to spread hate speech”.

We asked Cllr Frost if he would be issuing an apology to anyone who had been affected by his post but he did not respond.

Police investigating

Bedfordshire Police have also said they are reviewing the images to see if any offences have been committed.

“We have been made aware of an image posted on social media which has caused concern among local residents. Officers are currently reviewing the image to see whether any offences have been committed,” said a spokesperson for the force.

“We would like to encourage people to report any instances of hate crime related to the election or otherwise. Reports of this nature are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. Abuse of any kind is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”

The spokesperson said police officers are also actively monitoring behaviour connected to the forthcoming general election.

“Officers are continuing to monitor intelligence and online activity to identify community tensions or concerns, as well as putting plans in place to ensure that polling day and electoral counts run safely and as smoothly as possible,” they said.

Adding, “If you have any information or concerns you can report these by calling 101 or use our online reporting tool.”

The meme also repeats claims about Starmer’s involvement in the decision not to prosecute prolific paedophile Jimmy Saville which was dropped when Starmer was head of the Crown Prosecution Service, claims that have been consistently found to be untrue.

In June 2020 fact-checking organisation Full Fact looked into the claim that Starmer was involved in the decision not to prosecute Saville and confirmed that “he was not the reviewing lawyer for the case.”

Fact checked

Starmer later commissioned an investigation into the CPS decision and later apologised for “errors of judgment” made by police officers and the CPS prosecutor on the case.

The investigation did not suggest Starmer was personally involved in the decisions made.

The post about Labour leader Keir Starmer on Cllr Marc Frost's Facebook page has attracted anger from Bedfordians. We have blurred the wording so as to not be responsible for the sharing or misinformation and wording that has created upset in the community we serve. Image Cllr Marc Frost/Facebook
The post about Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on Cllr Marc Frost’s Facebook page has attracted anger from Bedfordians. We have blurred the wording so as to not be responsible for the sharing of misinformation and wording that has created upset in the community we serve. Image Cllr Marc Frost/Facebook

In 2022, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, rebuked then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson for repeating the false claims but stopped short of demanding an apology.

The speaker was forced to intervene after several members of the Tory party, including former chief whip Julian Smith, called on Johnson to withdraw the insinuation about Starmer.

Johnson later said: “I’m not talking about the leader of the opposition’s personal record when he was DPP. I was making a point about his responsibility for the organisation as a whole.”

But even that was not enough for some and Downing Street’s head of policy at the time, Munira Mirza, announced her resignation over the matter saying the PM should have apologised.

“No comment”

In her resignation letter, published by The Spectator, she wrote, ‘You are a better man than many of your detractors will ever understand, which is why it is so desperately sad that you let yourself down by making a scurrilous accusation against the leader of the opposition.’

The post was removed from Cllr Frost’s page after the Bedford Independent contacted Bedford Conservative Group for comment. It’s not known if the post was taken down by Cllr Frost or removed by Facebook.

Other posts on Cllr Frost’s Facebook page include a video denying climate change and a conversation in which he says Suella Braverman or Nigel Farage would be good replacements for his party’s current leader Rishi Sunak.

In a post asking his followers, ‘Will Rishi call it a day shortly.. and if he does who will take over?’ he later responds ‘…I’d go for Suella, or Farage. Rest of them are a wet weekend in Cleethorpes’.

Cllr Msrc Frost has posted that he'd favour Suella Braverman or Nigel Farage to replace Rishi Sunak. Image: Cllr Marc Frost/Facebook
Cllr Marc Frost has posted that he’d favour Suella Braverman or Nigel Farage to replace Rishi Sunak. Image: Cllr Marc Frost/Facebook

In another post about national service, he asks, “How many kids would suddenly develop mental health issues just to get out of it?”.

We asked Cllr Marc Frost several questions about his Keir Starmer post and also asked Bedford Conservative Group if they will be taking action against Cllr Frost.

Cllr Frost did not respond and a spokesperson for Bedford Conservative Group told us, “There will be no comment”.