Flamboyant Potts never far from controversy

ROLLERCOASTER RIDE ... Coun David Potts.
ROLLERCOASTER RIDE ... Coun David Potts.

DAVID Potts has endured a political and personal rollercoaster ride in his nine years on South Tyneside Council.

Never far from controversy, Coun Potts, who now represents UKIP in Cleadon and East Boldon, has found himself in deep water on several occasions.

He was the youngest representative on the council when, as a 21-year-old, he was elected Conservative candidate for Cleadon and East Boldon in 2004.

At the time, he was tipped for a bright political future and a year later he was selected as the Conservative candidate for Falkirk in the general election.

In 2010, he was selected again to take on Labour chancellor Alistair Darling at Edinburgh South West, but he later stood down.

After that, the young Tory’s career began to implode.

In January 2011, he came under fire for a foul-mouthed verbal Twitter attack on South Shields MP David Miliband.

Coun Potts told the Gazette he was quitting politics and spoke openly of his alcohol problems, but he continued to collect his councillor’s members allowance – to the anger of his political opponents.

Then early last year, after defecting to UKIP, he was quizzed by police over an alleged breach of data protection after a stormy meeting at Jarrow Town Hall. He was later disciplined for the matter and his council e-mail account “locked out”.

Between times, he came under fire for tweeting American porn stars and was named ‘socialite of the year’ by magazine Private Eye for his part in a ‘sex party’.

That title ‘recognised’ the former Tory’s apparent Twitter invitation last year for his constituents to take part in a W&S party – often taken as referring to ‘wives and swingers’.

Last May, he got into trouble for using the phrase “poxy backwater council” during another Twitter exchange, prompting further resignation calls from opponents. His downfall was complete in September last year, when the financial market trader was issued with a personal bankruptcy order at Sunderland County Court.

Speaking to the Gazette at the time, he expressed his continued commitment to his constituents, adding: “There’s a person made bankrupt every three minutes, I am not ashamed of it.

“I recognised there was a problem, just as I did with my alcohol addiction in 2010. I took action then and I have taken action now.

“I am sure that my political opponents will try to make the most of this, but I do not see in any way how this affects my political life.”

Outside of any self-inflicted injuries, Coun Potts is one of the plaintiffs in an ongoing legal battle in the US to uncover South Tyneside’s internet blogger ‘Mr Monkey’.

He’s one of the councillors who claims to have been defamed by comments made online.

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul