More than 2,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the resignation of the leader of Kingston Council.
The petition follows a Twitter outburst by Conservative Councillor Kevin Davis in which he branded a Malden teenager an ‘appalling little child’.
Cllr Davis was asked on Twitter by James Giles, 17, of New Malden, whether there was a conflict of interest in his son’s new position at prominent Kingston construction firm, CNM Estates.
In his reply, Cllr Davis asked Mr Giles: “Who the hell do you think you are dragging my family into your vile conspiracy stories?”
The council leader later issued an apology, via a statement his personal blog.
He said: “My son was used as a political tool to attack me on social media and I reacted in a way that any father would, I defended my son’s right to privacy.”
Cllr Davis described himself as ‘a father first, and a politician second’ and said he ‘should not have risen to the attack’.
He also claimed the petition calling for his resignation is politically motivated.
Sharron Sumner, who started the petition and works in the office of Ed Davey, the Lib Dem MP for Kingston and Surbiton, denied it was political.
She said: “I started it as a local mum who is particularly concerned about cyber bullying, and as a friend of James.
“I feel those in positions of power should not be engaging in cyber bullying or any other form of bullying, especially directed at a 17-year-old student.
“This is a view shared by many other people, of all political persuasions, as the petition highlights.”
Mr Giles issued a response to Cllr Davis’s statement on January 31, in which he denied having attacked the politician, saying he simply asked a question and was met with ‘a torrent of abuse in return’.
Feature image of Kingston Council courtesy of Andrew Bowden via Flickr, with thanks