Thanet councillor Stuart Piper slams ‘fake reverend’ accusations as a ‘smear campaign’

Cllr Stuart Piper, pictured with UKIP's Nigel Farage

A complaint has been lodged with Thanet council’s Standards Committee against former chairman Rev Stuart Piper.

Former councillor Paul Twyman says he took the action after failing to get answers to questions about when Cllr Piper was ordained into the Baptist church and whether he still practices.

Mr Twyman said: “As a former Thanet councillor I have a continuing interest in standards of behaviour and propriety at the council.

“For weeks now I have been trying to clarify a few matters direct with Cllr Piper but he has failed to respond. Accordingly, I have been forced to make a formal complaint against him.

“At this stage it would be wrong to make any further comment but as a former civil servant, engaged in public life for many years, I can assure you that I do not take this step lightly. “

Cllr Piper denied he had received any correspondence from Mr Twyman.

He said: “I received an email (on June 7) at 6.46am which said ‘despite reminders’ but I have had no other emails.

“I was ordained a minister in January 1994. I remain an ordained minister.”

He said his absence on the South East Baptist Association list is because it is for ministers available for full-time positions.

He added: “I have been working at the hospital and the hospice so I voluntarily removed myself as I am not available for a full-time position.”

Cllr Piper said claims made by political opponents on social media that he was a ‘fake reverend’ were part of an election smear campaign.

A Thanet council spokesman said they were unable to confirm whether or not a complaint had been made.