CALLS have been made for Bridport mayor Ros Kayes to consider standing down after a controversial Facebook post.

Cllr Kayes has apologised for any offence caused by the post – which related to the EU referendum result – but said her account was hacked and her privacy settings changed.

She removed the post as soon as she realised it could be seen publicly and reported the matter to police and to Facebook.

Cllr Kayes, who represents Bridport on the county council and district council, as well as serving as the town’s mayor, said: “It was my private opinion at 7am. It certainly wasn’t said in my capacity as mayor. It isn’t necessarily what I felt, but I was upset.”

Cllr Kayes runs two Facebook accounts, one in her official capacity and another with private settings, which can only be seen by close friends and family.

She added: “People have a right to a private life, even when they are politicians. I am really sorry if it has caused anyone offence but I was privately expressing my opinion in the heat of the moment for a private audience.

“My account was hacked and the settings changed so a private message could be seen publicly. I believe this was done with the intention of causing me damage.”

Colleagues defended Cllr Kayes.

Cllr David Rickard, who sits on the town council and district council, said: “It was a private message which was accidentally published. You can’t get through life without upsetting a few people – it’s the price we pay for freedom of speech.”

And Town Cllr Martin Ray added: “I don’t think she should step down. She’s doing a very good job as mayor.”

But some residents felt differently. Cllr Kayes should reconsider her position.

One Dorset Echo reader said: “As someone in her position and in the public eye, these comments are not only abusive but offensive to those who believe in democracy. She should be taken to task over this and certainly consider resigning.”