‘A JOKE is a joke’ - A councillor who said that Jeremy Corbyn should commit suicide in a Facebook post has defended himself, saying he was joking.

Paul Dowson, an independent county councillor for Pembroke Dock central, posted in an open group that asked what Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s next step should be, to which he replied “suicide”.

Cllr Dowson’s Facebook account was banned by Facebook for three days and he was referred to Pembrokeshire County Council's monitoring officer.

The comments follow a surge in abuse and intimidation against MPs over the past three years following the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016.

Speaking to the Western Telegraph on Monday (April 15), Cllr Dowson said: “It was a joke, I think it’s quite obvious that it’s banter and people are being too sensitive.

“People are jumping on the bandwagon, it’s trendy to be oversensitive these days.

“A joke is a joke - most people do get it.

“No one has been in touch with me to tell me they have been upset about it. If they did I would apologise.”

Cllr Dowson added that it would be better if the person who raised the complaint “spend more time trying to do good for the county rather than going after other councillors.”

When asked if he would be offended if someone had suggested that he should kill himself, Cllr Dowson said: “I would have laughed about it, a councillor has to have thick skin. It wouldn’t disrupt my day.”

On Wednesday (April 17) Cllr Dowson had a meeting with the monitoring officer.

Speaking to the Western Telegraph after the meeting Cllr Dowson said he explained to the monitoring officer that he meant that Jeremy Corbyn should commit “political suicide.”

Western Telegraph:

“I explained that I meant political suicide, the person who complained took it the wrong way.

“People are still a bit too sensitive - people get upset about the smallest things.

“It wasn’t a threat, it was full of banter.

“The person complained [to the monitoring officer] that I had it on my own wall. They hadn’t seen the original post.

In multiple posts where Cllr Dowson explained his ban to people, he did not mention that he felt that Mr Corbyn should commit “political suicide”.

Western Telegraph: Facebook ban review PICTURE: Paul DowsonFacebook ban review PICTURE: Paul Dowson

Cllr Dowson said the monitoring officer advised him to be more careful with his words in the future.

“I can see how it came across,” he said. “I will be more careful in the future.”

A council spokesman said on behalf of the monitoring officer that it “would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”