A councillor facing calls to quit his role as youth champion over binge-drinking allegations has accused his critics of age discrimination.
Cllr James Barber’s social media posts have come under attack, particularly a TikTok video of him running down the road with an office chair strapped on his back.
The video, since removed, had the caption: “Apparently, 7 Jaegerbombs in 30 mins turns me into a weapon.”
Critics said the 21-year-old councillor was boasting about binge-drinking and demanded he step down from his role of champion for young people on Cheshire East Council.
Jamie Gordon, 18, from Macclesfield, said: “As an 18-year-old I follow with some concern the behaviour of Cheshire East Council’s champion for young people.
“This boast (about Jaegerbombs) is accompanied by a video of him running through the streets past and close to parked vehicles with a chair strapped to his back.
“On behalf of a number of friends I say this doesn’t represent how the vast majority of young people act nor want to be represented and certainly not championed. I’d like him to stand down or be replaced.”
Cllr Barber was appointed to the position to champion the interests of young people last year, a year after being elected as councillor for Broken Cross and Upton ward at the age of 18.
He has hit back at those calling for him to quit, repeating a previous complaint that as a young person, he is treated differently from older counterparts.
He said: “After long weeks of working on a Covid-19 testing and infection control team at work, along with being a 21-year-old at university and being a councillor, I go out for drinks with my friends.
“However, I acknowledge that, through posting videos on social media of me on a night out I have upset and offended some. For that, I unreservedly apologise.
“I don’t encourage binge-drinking, and do not binge-drink myself. Furthermore, I have not broken any rules or laws.
“However, this story raises in itself serious questions around the way in which young people are treated. When government ministers were videoed drunk dancing in nightclubs, or drunkenly singing karaoke, they were praised for ‘showing a human side’.
“Whereas when it is a young person, it’s seen as ‘binge-drinking’. Is it any wonder so few young people wish to put themselves forward for election?”
Another entry on social media sees Cllr Barber Tweet of how he “stumbled” home in the snow “incredibly drunk” talking like children’s TV character Pingu the penguin.
In his role Cllr Barber has helped residents campaigning again homes being built on green belt land in Broken Cross as well as supporting local causes such as helping with foodbank collections and the SHOUT campaign to tackle sexual violence.
He has received messages of support on social media. In one, Lee Glover wrote: “Sorry James that you have been put in this position, you have always tried your best and your (sic) no different from many other in enjoying your free time . Your a brilliant councillor. ”