CONFUSION surrounds what happened to a complaint made about the deputy mayor of Basingstoke, after the borough council denied it was ever submitted.

On May 22, Cllr Onnalee Cubitt posted a Tweet venting her frustration that “someone I have never heard of sent a formal complaint to my head of legal and democratic services three weeks ago”.

The Basing ward Conservative councillor said the complaint accused her of racism for “calling the plague the CCP [Communist Party of China] virus and demanding I stop”.

She added: “I am a humble backbench borough councillor in Hampshire”.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Cllr Cubitt currently has a formal complaint made about her from Alex Lee being investigated by the council, which was submitted on July 1 – after she made the Tweet.

When the Gazette asked the borough council about other formal complaints made against Cllr Cubitt, a council spokesperson claimed no others have been made, sparking confusion over what happened to the one Cllr Cubitt referred to in her Tweet on May 22.

Sara Shepherd, the council’s communications and marketing officer, said: “There have been no formal complaints made against Cllr Cubitt in the past. We can confirm that a standards complaint has been received from a member of the public that is currently under consideration.”

As previously reported, the current complaint centres around Cllr Cubitt referring to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus” after she liked a Tweet from US president Donald Trump calling the virus “a very bad gift from China”.

The World Health Organisation has advised against using terms that link Covid-19 to China to avoid stigmatisation.

The investigation is currently at ‘stage one’ of the council’s formal process for looking into complaints made about councillors who may have breached the Code of Conduct.