ADUR Council leader Neil Parkin could face a misconduct investigation after sending an allegedly ‘abusive’ email to a Lib Dem parliamentary candidate.
Candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham, Jemima Bland, lodged a complaint against the Conservative council leader following his response to an open letter she sent to the council.
The allegedly abusive email read: “Thank you for your inaccurate, possibly libellous and once again hypocritical open letter.
“All I can say about the basic facts in the letter is if Adur ever has a “STATING THE OBVIOUS” competition you will stand a good chance of winning.”
Ms Bland said the response from Cllr Parkin appeared to breach three important parts of the councils’ Code of Members’ Conduct.
The code calls for members to deal with enquiries fairly, appropriately and impartially, to listen to the interests of all parties, to remain objective and take decisions on merit, and to always treat people with respect.
Ms Bland said her complaint was not about whether or not Cllr Parkin agreed with the views expressed in the letter, adding that he had every right not to do so.
“But he does have a duty, as an elected representative, in receipt of a substantial annual payment for his services, to discharge his duties in line with the Code of Members’ Conduct which the council has adopted,” she wrote.
She added that she believed Cllr Parkin’s conduct had ‘fallen short of the standards expected of any member of Adur District Council’.
Ms Bland said the email bordered on the hysterical, and rather than ‘taking decisions on merit’, Cllr Parkin had made no effort to consider the points of substance contained in the open letter, in favour of general abuse.
Mr Parkin said: “I think it’s hilarious that a parliamentary candidate doesn’t like being told that she’s stating the obvious when she’s stating the obvious.”
A spokesman confirmed that the council had received a complaint from Ms Bland, alleging that Mr Parkin had breached the Members Code of Conduct.
The complaint will now be considered by the monitoring officer in consultation with an independent person appointed by Adur Council.