Sunday, 29 November 2015

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Former Cumbrian mayor's neknominate stunt slammed

Workington's former youngest mayor has landed himself in hot water after taking part in a drinking craze which police have warned can put lives at risk.

Neknominate mayor photo
Andrew Lawson during his neknominate stunt

Police and health chiefs in Cumbria have urged people to shun the “neknominate” internet fad.

It usually involves partially clothed people “necking” large amounts of alcohol in bizarre circumstances and then posting a video of it online.

Among those who have taken part are Allerdale’s Seaton councillor Andrew Lawson, whose video shows him downing a pint of beer as he clutches a packet of Special K breakfast cereal, clothed in only his underpants.

The film, which he put online, includes him nominating two people to carry out their own neknominate stunts.

Independent Workington town councillor Stephen Stoddart was openly critical of the stunt, which has since been taken offline.

He said: “I wondered why Andrew was doing it,” he said.

“When the Labour party put him forward for mayor – the youngest one there’s ever been in Workington – they said it was to encourage young people to go out and vote.

“But in this video he sets a bad example to the young people of west Cumbria.

“I can’t understand why he put himself in that situation.

“I’d personally like Allerdale council to do an investigation into it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s bringing the council into disrepute.”

When he became mayor of Workington, Mr Lawson said he wanted to show young people have a place in politics and that they are not all bad.

The neknominate craze came to the UK from Australia. After a video is posted online, usually on a social network site such as Facebook, the next nominated person is expected to outdo the dare within 24 hours or face public ridicule.

There have been various worrying examples of the craze in Cumbria in recent weeks. One video showed a young man riding a toy tractor through the McDonald’s drive-thru in Kingstown, Carlisle, wearing just underpants and a crash helmet.

Dr Rebecca Wagstaff, Cumbria County Council’s acting director of public health, warned that competitions involving excessive drinking could be dangerous.

Allerdale council confirmed that it has not received any formal complaints about the councillor’s stunt.

A spokeswoman said: “This is not a council issue.”

However, members of the Labour party in Allerdale have spoken to Mr Lawson about his responsibilities as an elected member.

Mr Lawson said: “It was a foolish prank and I did not think about the effect of my actions, or how they would look to other people. I would urge anyone considering getting involved in this craze to think before they act.”


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