Council  leader Mike Jones sparked controversy on social media after embarking on a war of words over a Twitter account.

Cllr Jones first became embroiled in the Twitter row last Thursday when he challenged the user behind a popular anonymous account whose name incorporates a four-letter expletive in its name @****Chester.

Cllr Jones said the user ‘should be ashamed’ of himself for using the ‘negative’ name because it sent the wrong messages to investors.

The Tory leader had previously posted a cryptic ‘tweet’ attacking ‘negative forces driving people away from the city’, sparking a war of words with the mystery user, who has more than 4,000 followers.

The man behind the @****Chester account, who does not want his real name to be revealed, said: “I love Chester so I was just shocked and tried to defend myself, saying he should actually look at the content of my tweets.

Michael Owen's Twitter account with responses from Graham Evans MP and CWaC Cllr Mike Jones
 

“He then told me I should be ashamed of myself and told me to change the name before alleging I may have been part of Labour or the Lib Dems.

“It was quite bizarre to be blamed for Chester's problems, most of the stuff I’m tweeting is positive.”

He added: “We’ve struck a chord with Cestrians who maybe feel they’re not being represented properly by an out-of-touch council. That's a real issue I'm tweeting about and reflecting people’s concerns.

“I felt Mike was trying to silence me and any criticism of CWaC and I was baffled. I run the account as a hobby and I've had no negative comments from any followers .

I've been inundated with messages of support saying I do more for Chester than Mike does and I think my account shows Chester is beautiful . Like everywhere it has its bad points, but it’s fundamentally positive.”

Three days later Cllr Jones caused further outrage by replying to a tweet from footballer Michael Owen, who referred to Twitter users who ‘abused’ him as looking like ‘weasels and lowlifes’ on their profile pictures.

Cllr Jones wrote ‘I know how you feel!’ before Conservative Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans also waded in, writing: “I know exactly what you mean.”

But when The Chronicle asked Cllr Jones if his comment was aimed at @****Chester, he denied it – describing the row as ‘a bit of fun’.

“I wasn’t aiming it at anyone in particular. The fact is some people can be really quite nasty on social media and hide behind anonymous accounts,” he said.

“You’ve got these people who slag off our beautiful city with a name like that – it’s rude. CWaC is spending millions on investment on this city and it’s improved dramatically.

“That account has an awful title that reflects badly on Chester. People I meet are appalled by it. If people aren’t happy about something, they can pick up the phone or send an email and it will get resolved – don’t just hide behind an anonymous account.”

Cllr Jones added: “What exactly should I apologise for? Challenging people who are running this great city down? We’re working very hard and I’m very happy to say I will always stand up to people who are negative about it.”

A spokesperson for Mr Evans said the MP also hadn’t aimed his tweet at anyone in particular.