A returning officer has apologised to the editor of a local news magazine after attempting to ban it from May’s local election count.
Salford Star editor Stephen Kingston was told he would not be allowed entry into the count despite the magazine having covered every local election for the past seven years.
The ban, which was eventually revoked, was initially handed down by Matt Finnegan, the head of communications at Salford City Council.
Now the city’s returning officer Ben Nolan has sent a letter apologising to the paper, although Stephen says he is still seeking an apology from Mr Finnegan.
Mr Nolan wrote: “It was wrong that it was initially indicated that you may not be officially accredited as a member of the press to attend on election day.
“This was subsequently rectified and accreditation was afforded. I would offer you my personal apology for this error.”
However Stephen says the Star, which has recently returned to print after five years as a web-only publication, is not letting the matter rest there.
In a story about the episode, he said he would continue to seek an apology from Mr Finnegan who he described as “out of control.”
Wrote Stephen: “How pathetic that Ben Dolan has to offer his `personal apology’ rather than Matt Finnegan, who attempted the ban in the first place – where is his apology?” says Star editor Stephen Kingston
“The complaint wasn’t against the returning officer, it was against the Mayor’s spin doctor who is running Salford like some banana republic.
“I have replied to Ben Dolan asking what actions will be taken against Finnegan and the complaint continues” added Stephen.
“This whole episode makes you wonder what the hell is going on at the Civic Centre. The Mayor’s toxic spin doctor is out of control.”