Southend councillor claims she was put in danger after address was published

A Southend Labour councillor claims she has been put in danger by Conservatives who “posted her address on social media”.

Lydia Hyde, councillor for St Laurence ward, took to Facebook to say she had written to Anna Firth, Conservative MP for Southend West, calling for an end to a “weird obsession with where I live”.

Cllr Hyde claimed a previous publication of her address by local Tories had forced her to leave her job and move home.

John Lamb, chairman of the Southend West Conservative Association, insisted he was “unaware of the issue” and urged Cllr Hyde to contact him over her concerns.

Cllr Hyde took advantage of a rule change in 2019, which removed a requirement for candidates and councillors to publish their home addresses.

Several councillors opted for the change in the wake of the death of Sir David Amess at his constituency surgery in 2021.

Cllr Hyde said: “It was this rule change that allowed me to stand for council as previously, I was restricted by my employer for safety reasons.

“So you can imagine my concern and anxiety when the Conservatives in St Laurence ward published what they thought was where I lived when I first stood in 2021.”

Cllr Hyde claimed a previous publication of her address had forced her to leave her job and move home but she says the problem continues.

Speaking on her Facebook page she added: “I am now forced to take this public as despite trying to raise this amicably and privately for the last two years, there has been no change in behaviour and they have “exposed” where I live on social media for the third time.”

Senior Tories including Tony Cox, leader of the Conservative Group, said they were unaware of the problem.

Mr Lamb said: “I haven’t heard a word about it and I’m the chairman. She hasn’t said anything to me at all about it. Anna Firth is an MP and as such does not control our councillors. I’d expect her to come to me.

“Councillors have to be protected, especially with some of the things that have happened like Sir David Amess, but we are open to the public as we should be.

“That’s what we’re there for.”

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter