Ex-councillor banned for breaking code

LORNA MARSH A former Yarmouth councillor has been disqualified from holding public office for 18 months after a tribunal found he brought his council into disrepute by uttering derogatory remarks.

LORNA MARSH

A former Yarmouth councillor has been disqualified from holding public office for 18 months after a tribunal found he brought his council into disrepute by uttering derogatory remarks.

John Hudson, who represented West Flegg as an Independent Conservative on Yarmouth Borough Council, was taken to the Standards Board for England over alleged breaches of the councillors' code of conduct.

An adjudication tribunal panel found that Mr Hudson had failed to treat others with respect and brought the office of councillor into disrepute.

The hearing followed a standards board investigation into Mr Hudson's conduct, prompted by a complaint that he had accused council officers of collusion, lying to and deliberately misleading councillors, incompetence and perjury.

On one occasion, Mr Hudson stated in a council meeting, in the presence of the public and the media, that he had seen and heard “four people with connections to this council mislead the court” when they were called as witnesses in a criminal trial.

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But he did not report the allegation to the police.

He also accused a council officer of professional misconduct and incompetence, and also complained to the Local Government Ombudsman, to continue to make an accusation that had been demonstrated to have no substance.

And he used a subordinate officer to convey a message to his line manager which implied that Mr Hudson would seek the line manager's resignation if a case went against the council.

After the investigation, the Standards Board for England's ethical standards officer referred the case to the Adjudication Panel for England for determination. The case tribunal agreed that Mr Hudson's actions were in breach of the code of conduct and disqualified him for 18 months with immediate effect.

Sir Anthony Holland, chairman of the Standards Board for England, said: “The code of conduct exists to maintain the high ethical standards among councillors that the public rightly expect.

“While members are entitled to question and challenge officers about their work, it is important that councillors set a tone of mutual respect, trust and professionalism. By failing to treat others with respect, councillors undermine confidence in their office and the council as a whole, and in this case, brought their office and authority into disrepute through clearly unacceptable conduct.”

Mr Hudson told the EDP in April that he would not seek re-election and was “gutted” to be taken to the tribunal.

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