In full: Council's apology to 'vindicated' members after bullying claims

Attleborough town hall. Picture: Archant

Attleborough Town Council has issued a formal apology to councillors Taila Taylor and Ed Tyrer - Credit: Archant

Tuesday evening marked a momentous occasion in the recent history of Attleborough Town Council (ATC), as two members received an apology following allegations of "harassment, bullying and intimidation".

Accusations made against Taila Taylor and Ed Tyrer first came about in February of last year, triggering several months of turmoil and infighting at the council. 

Attleborough town councillor Taila Taylor with her mother, Samantha. Picture: Archant

Attleborough town councillor Taila Taylor, pictured with her mother Sam, has received a full apology after allegations of "bullying" - Credit: Archant

But on Tuesday evening - around 15 months later - it was finally put on public record that the claims had been found to be false.

They were, instead, part of a "malicious campaign" to remove Miss Taylor and Mr Tyrer from positions of influence. 

They therefore received a full, formal apology at ATC's annual meeting for 2021. 

Prior to reading the apology on behalf of the town council, mayor Phil Leslie said the milestone had been "looked forward to for some time". 

Philip Leslie was in the running to become the new mayor of Attleborough. Picture: Courtesy of Phil

Attleborough mayor Phil Leslie read the apology to Taila Taylor and Ed Tyrer on behalf of the town council - Credit: Archant

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Here is the formal apology from ATC in full:

"Attleborough Town Council ('the council') offers a profound and unreserved apology to both councillor Taila Taylor and councillor Edward Tyrer for the publication of defamatory statements concerning false allegations of both councillors sustaining a ‘campaign of harassment, bullying and intimidation’ on fellow councillors, staff and employees of Attleborough Town Council.

"We accept that all such allegations were false and wrong. 

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"The false accusations were made in the context of a malicious campaign to remove councillor Taylor and councillor Tyrer from several committees and working groups of the council. 

Security blocked the public and press from entering Attleborough Town Hall as the future of Taila Ta

The press and public were barred from attending an Attleborough town council meeting which saw two councillors stripped of their committee roles - Credit: Archant

"Indeed, on February 27, 2020, members of the council passed an unlawful motion to remove both councillors from their positions held within the council and prevent both councillors from being appointed as vice chairman or mayor for a period of two years. 

"This motion was passed following several code of conduct complaints made to the monitoring officer at Breckland Council and the issue of a formal letter of grievance to Attleborough Town Council written by Miles Hubbard, a Unite the Union regional officer. 

"We would like to make it clear that the monitoring officer at Breckland Council has decided not to investigate these complaints. The statements made by Miles Hubbard of Unite are not based on the belief of the council, and the council has found no evidence to suggest these statements were true. In fact, all such statements were false and wrong.

Police were called to a meeting at Attleborough Town Council. Photo: Bethany Wales

Police were called to an extraordinary meeting of Attleborough town council in February 2020 - Credit: Archant

"Following the issue and success of judicial review proceedings by councillor Taylor, both councillors have been vindicated of all allegations relating to ‘harassment, bullying and intimidation’ and had all their previous positions held within the council reinstated.

"The council admits to the procedural impropriety and complete disregard to the due process required for investigating the allegations concerning the councillors, and the passing of the motion on February 27, 2020. 

"Furthermore, several defamatory statements were made by the former Attleborough town mayor and current councillor, Anthony Crouch. Statements made by the former mayor compared the alleged behaviour of councillors Taylor and councillor Tyrer to the behaviour that caused the sad death of a high-profile celebrity in 2020

Caroline Flack arriving at the National Television Awards 2016. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

"Bullying" allegations against two Attleborough councillors were compared to the treatment of Caroline Flack prior to her death - Credit: PA

"The council would like to make it clear that both councillor Taylor and councillor Tyrer have never been found to have harassed, bullied, or intimidated fellow councillors, staff or employees of the council. The council sincerely apologises for the hurt, suffering and stress that has been caused to both councillors.

"The council, as a way of accepting liability for publicly publishing the false allegations, has agreed to pay the legal costs that have been accumulated by councillor Taylor and councillor Tyrer, and pay damages in an aim to compensate for the damage that has been caused to the councillors' reputation and good name, and the distress suffered.

"We would like to thank both councillors for their resilience throughout this period and for the diligent work they have displayed throughout the local community. We hope this apology can be the first step to rebuilding a strong and successful relationship between the council and the councillors."

Signed, Attleborough Town Council

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