GREAT Aycliffe Town Councillor Kathy Beetham tries to defend her abhorrent and hateful Facebook rant against leave voters made on the day following the referendum (Echo, Jul 5).

Briefly, her defence is that she has been misquoted.

However, in the post she clearly expressed the wish that Brexiteers should be "gassed". Her choice of "gassing" as the solution to Brexit has reasonably been seen by many as indicating that she is as anti-Semitic, which is the accusation aimed at much of the extreme left Momentum movement in the present Labour Party.

She also defends herself by saying she posted her comments before she was elected as a councillor. This defence raises a fundamental question for the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) and the Labour leader of the town council: did the CLP carry out due diligence in vetting its candidates? If so, how did Cllr Beetham get selected?

As Cllr Beetham is involved in recruiting members to the CLP, are moderate members aware that her extreme left-wing remain stance may be encouraging more extremists to join the party which will (hopefully) make it unelectable in our moderate, leave-voting constituency?

Cllr Beetham's Facebook rant was, for me, an eye-opener as to the hate and division the opponents of the democratic leave result harbour. Remainers such as her have no respect for democracy, and endanger freedom of speech by abusing it.

Alastair Welsh, Aycliffe