AN EXTRAORDINARY exchange of emails between Wirral Council's communications boss and the caustic website Wirral Leaks has raised eyebrows today.

The fallout over the town hall's decision to publish its own newspaper took a new twist at the weekend when the Leaks website uploaded a mocking review of the first edition.

The critique of the "Wirral View" newspaper prompted a flurry of emails from head of communications Kevin MacCallum.

The exchange is bizarre in many ways, not least that the blog has long been a thorn in the side of the local authority and it would be considered beyond the pale for most staff to interact with it.

But Mr MacCallum fired off his opening shot which was published on the website...

"I write to ask a favour. I enjoy the blog in general, even considering the extra work you create for me & my staff, and I do have to say you cross the line into personal abuse at times," he wrote.

"The articles this week taking the p*ss out of Wirral View are also good fun, and about what we expected.

"Bring it on. I would like to ask you to remove the photo though.

"It’s got ‘normal’ people in it, as in not politicians and not senior staff."

The website's owners - whose identities are unknown - replied they were considering the request.

Mr MacCallum responded "I appreciate that [but] is your photo-desk on a go-slow? They could get a job here."

However the mischievous website later said it had no intention of co-operating: "Sorry to ruin your weekend – we’ve given this considerable thought and the collective has decided that no, we won’t be doing you a favour. Why should we?"

The refusal sparked the following: "Just take the photo of the kid and the woman with the Mayor down. Come on, is it really that big a deal?

"Fill your boots with any of the other stuff though, obviously. A lot of this is fair game, and you do a nice job – just try and keep ordinary people out of it.

"I’ve often pictured you as the type of bloke who spends his evenings typing furiously on his laptop from his mum's spare room wearing Superman pyjamas.

"Anyway, I assumed getting into contact with you would result in a kicking off your blog, so well done for delivering. Obviously feel free to post this email too."

The emails ended: "Have a good weekend. You genuinely didn’t ruin mine. 

"I was actually quite looking forward to my ‘Wirral Leaks kicking’. Kev."

Conservative councillor Chris Blakeley said: "I have just had a conversation with the council's chief executive Eric Robinson regarding the appalling and unacceptable emails sent by a senior council officer to a Wirral website.

"If a councillor had behaved in this way he or she would be hauled before the standards committee.

"I noted in Mr Robinson's 'ExecView' email bulletin to all staff that he comments this month how proud he is of the Wirral View.

"I wonder - given this embarrassing exchange of emails - if that pride extends to the editorial staff of this council-run 'Pravda'?"

A Globe request for an interview with Mr MacCallum or a statement from him was refused by the council, who would only say "this is an internal matter and it would not be appropriate to comment."