NekNominate: East Lancashire councillors 'must apologise for drinking stunt'

9:00pm Monday 24th February 2014

A COUNTY councillor has called on two councillors to apologise for taking part in deadly social media drinking game, Neknominate.

County Councillor Azhar Ali is set to launch a campaign to warn youngsters of the dangers of drinking games next week.

And he has called on councillors Paul White and Jennifer Purcell to apologise after they posted videos of themselves downing a pint.

Coun Purcell, a Pendle borough councillor for Barnoldswick, declined to comment yesterday while Coun White, who is a Lancashire county and Pendle councillor, was unavailable.

County Coun Ali, who is chairman of Lancashire County Council’s health and wellbeing board, said: “This game maybe started as a joke but it has gone viral and is now extremely dangerous and five people have already needlessly lost their lives.

“Councillors Paul White and Jennifer Purcell should apologise for taking part in it.

“They may say that they didn’t do anything dangerous but by taking part they have allowed this game to continue and people are dying from it. I hope they will both support my campaign.”

The news comes as the Local Government Association, which represents almost 400 councils in England and Wales, said prominent messages were needed on the Facebook and Twitter about the dangers of the craze.

The LGA said some schools had asked for warning notices about Neknominate to be put on noticeboards and read out at assemblies.

Last Wednesday, the industry-funded charity Drinkaware called on parents to take a tough stance against the game over fears that young teenagers are under pressure to take part.

Katie Hall, chair of the LGA's community wellbeing board, said: “This is an utterly reckless and totally irresponsible craze which has tragically claimed lives. More should be done to highlight the dangers and persuade people not to participate.

“The LGA is urging Facebook and Twitter executives to sit down with us and discuss a way forward which tackles this issue head-on.” Liberal Democrat leader for Blackburn with Darwen, David Foster said: “Certainly the more we can do to stop people engaging in dangerous behaviour the better.

“Alcohol is a big problem in this area in terms of people being admitted to hospital and so forth so these warnings could help benefit not only the individual but relieve some of the pressures that are put on the health service budget.”

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