Thursday 20 June 2013

We have an apology, but ...

We read in the Leatherhead advertiser today (June 20th) that Cllr Dickson has apologized to Martin Newey and John Whittaker for stating that the accusations of misconduct made against her had been "malicious." At long last she has admitted: "In particular, I acknowledge that Mr Lingard had concluded that he did not question the integrity of any of the complainants."

Indeed he did not. He actually stated: "I do not question the integrity of any of the complainants nor do I believe that any of them has told me any untruths." In other words, the Lingard Report attributed neither fraud nor malice to any of the complainants. Yet is only after eights months and a recourse to the courts by two of the complainants that an apology is issued to those two complainants.

Yet in the her press statement issued by Mole Valley Conservative Party on 1st October 2012, Cllr Dickson names seven complainants. Are the other five, then, guilty of fraud and/or malice? Clearly Mr Lingard did not think so. Is it not time that Cllr Dickson did the honorable thing and apologized to all seven?

I note Mr Whittaker's statement in the Advertiser, though I am sorry the newspaper did not print it in full:
"Councillor Dickson’s press statement, with its false allegations against people who made complaints about her conduct, was appalling. She has now (8 months later) apologised. This apology is the result solely of legal action taken by complainants. The Council has always known the true position, but has said nothing about its councillor’s much publicised false allegations. It is a pity also that the Lingard Report has been kept from the Standards Committee which commissioned it."

To all of which I say "Amen!"

It is high time that things were brought into to the open. Not only should the Lingard Report be passed to the Standards Committee, it should, in my opinion, be put into the public domain.

1 comment:

  1. Councillor Dickson has undertaken not to further publish in any manner her false allegations that the claimants made false and malicious claims against her which led to an investigation by Mr. Lingard. What a shame the Council continues to suppress the Lingard Report and refuses to refer it back to Standards Committee who commissioned it in the first place. This is not only damaging to the reputation of the council but has also meant that the complainants were not able defend themselves without being told they were breaching the 'confidentiality' of the report. The complaints were not vexatious or politically motivated and there are important lessons to be learnt from this 64 page report which took several months to complete. Mr Lingard decided that she had not breached the code of conduct with respect to her treatment of the complainants. But he also considered the question of the whether a councillor who lobbied in support was predisposed or predetermined when it came to voting on the application. There are important lessons to be learnt by a close reading of the report. However, by subsequently maligning the complainants, she has breached the code of conduct and brought her office into disrepute. She therefore owes all of us, including the Leatherhead Residents Association, a public apology for her press statement of 1st October issued through the Conservative Association.
    Kristina Kenworthy - complainant, resident in Councillor Dickson's ward and member of the LRA.