A COUNCILLOR has been bombarded with more than 10,000 emails promising sex after being signed up to hook-up sites without her consent.

Argyll and Bute councillor Julie McKenzie awoke to the sounds of incoming message alerts during the local election campaign.

The emails included offers of “hot sex” and suggestive images of women from a number of websites, including Elite Singles and UkrainianBrides4u.

McKenzie, who was recently re-elected to the Oban North and Lorn ward, says she had to disable her message alerts after more than 10,000 posts were sent to her personal account within “a couple of days” at the rate of up to 400 per hour.

The 43-year-old says she has never used any of the platforms contacting her and she has no idea who signed her up.

However, she believes the move may be part of broader online abuse targeted at women in politics and says it has affected her ability to communicate with constituents, with their messages now “lost in the mix”.

It has also continued as McKenzie’s SNP group, the largest in the council, embarked on key talks in a bid to form a coalition to run the authority, which has been slammed in recent years by the public spending watchdog and was embroiled in a series of controversies under the previous Tory-LibDem-Independent administration.

She told The National: “I have categorically never visited any of the dubious sites that have been bombarding my account with emails, let alone signed up to them using my personal email address.

“This appears to be another example of the misogynistic online harassment that female politicians can expect to be subjected to. It’s completely unacceptable and I believe that we all have a duty to call it out for exactly what it is.”

McKenzie, who has campaigned against schools cuts and for support for children with additional support needs, says the “stress” of the problems means it is no joke.

In an online post directed at those behind the move, she said: “You may think this is hilarious and causing me grief, but the people it affects most are my constituents, with real requests for help, that are now lost in the mix. When I will find out who has done this, I will out you publicly.”

Yesterday she told this newspaper: “It is all sexual emails that have been coming in. Now I am also being hit with insurance companies and mortgages.

“It started in the middle of the night and when the pings woke me up I wondered what on earth was going on. I didn’t realise the extent until I saw how many emails I had.”

She went on: “As a female councillor, my experience is that a lot of the abuse I get is misogynistic. It is predominately online and it is predominately males that are responsible.

“I think it’s because I am outspoken and don’t fit the mould of what a councillor in Argyll and Bute has been in the past — I’m younger, and I’m not a man in a suit.

“I have been subjected to it in the past, but during the election campaign it really stepped up. Most of it is on Facebook, with some on Twitter.

“With Twitter I just block them and move on, but with Facebook it is harder because it is people within my local community who are known to me. They would just walk by me in the street, but they are keyboard warriors.

“I have alerted police to the problem and I am keeping a diary of everything that happens and I will continue to speak out against it.”

Councillors will meet at the authority’s Kilmory headquarters today to determine its direction.

A total of 11 SNP councillors were elected to 10 independents, nine Tories and six LibDems. It is expected that another Tory-LibDem-independent group will take control.

LibDem leader Willie Rennie instructed his party not to work with the SNP, who in turn have vowed not to do deals with the Tories.

In a pledge to locals ahead of the meeting, McKenzie said: “We extended an open invitation to all Independent and LibDem councillors to join with us to work for the good of Argyll and Bute. We are still keen to work with like-minded folk who want the best for the area and are prepared to work to a social democrat, community led agenda. Sadly very few of the invitees have even taken up the opportunity to enter talks with us.

“Opposition will be a bitter pill to swallow. With representation in each ward, we will continue to work hard for all of you and we will make it our absolute priority to hold the new right-wing Argyll and Bute council administration to account at every turn.”