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Ex-town Cllr investigated for trivial alleged breach of the code of conduct

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Here is my speech today:
FACT: All of Cllr Kimmins claims are wrong and based on junk – wrong guidance and wrong analysis of the law.

FACT:  We are gathered here today because the Wiltshire Council standards system for councillors fails to properly explain what the code really means and because the procedural system to deal with allegations of any breach is deeply flawed with unfairness occurring almost all the time at almost every stage except when lawyers manage to correctly advise the relevant councillors on what to do.

FACT: The Wiltshire Council standards system is deeply confused about how to interpret any code of conduct. The council has even adopted a piece of nonsense that it refers to as guidance. This was an illogical attempt by the then leader of the council to put “respect” back into the post-2012 code of conduct. The problem is that this guidance cannot change what is already written in an adopted code and it cannot change the meaning of words that are there in the code and it cannot put words in that are certainly not there in the first place..

FACT: Her Majesty’s new government has a massive mandate based on its manifesto which clearly said that it will champion freedom of expression and tolerance.

FACT: When I was a district councillor for 6 years, I – like Cllr Carbin – benefited from regular seminars put on by a competent monitoring officer and standards committee – about the meaning of the then statutory code of conduct. There were also various guides circulated by the then standards board which made it clear that freedom of expression was a powerful right which applied to councillors at the higher level to enable robust political debate.

FACT: Various High Court cases – referred to in the papers before you – make clear that Councillors are required to have thick skins. Trying to be both a snowflake and a politician is a recipe for all sorts of nonsense and false claims to a code of conduct system which fails to explain what conduct is allowed in the first place.

FACT:  All of the relevant legal argument for my defence is set out in the papers before you.

FACT: I am entitled to expect that the law of the land will be applied correctly.  Whether you choose to end these false allegations now or allow them to proceed, I assure you that the correct law will be applied by the end of this matter.

FACT: The Westbury Town Council code of conduct, like the Wiltshire one, does not contain the requirement for respect.

FACT: I have no case to answer.

FACT: The Wiltshire Council code of conduct system needs to look at itself and correct its many flaws and actually start to explain it all properly to councillors and the public.  Good luck.

The second case eventually got dropped after the Monitoring Officer decided that taking the matter any further to a hearing would be a waste of public money.


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