Fringe Box



Complainants Reject Private Apology From ‘Bloody Rabble’ Councillor

Published on: 21 Nov, 2016
Updated on: 22 Nov, 2016
Cllr Moseley, at the April 6th meeting, issuing the erroneous instruction that it was prohibited for the public to record the meeting without prior permission.

Cllr Moseley, at the April 6th planning meeting.

A private apology, sent by the councillor who in April compared the public gallery at a Guildford Borough Council Planning Committee meeting to a “bloody rabble”, has been rejected by all three of those who complained about her behaviour.

In the unheaded letter, sent as an email attachment, Cllr Marsha Moseley (Con, Ash Vale) stated: “The comments I made after I had formally closed the Planning Committee meeting on 6 April 2016 were made entirely in a private capacity to a colleague sitting next to me. They were made out of sheer exasperation following what had been a challenging meeting to chair as confirmed by Mr Tim Darsley in his confidential report dated 4 August 2016, the comments were not directed to anyone in particular, however, I am sorry if their subsequent and erroneous broadcast may have caused offence, as this was not the intention.”

Moseley complaint apology

The apology note sent privately to each of the three complainants

As exclusively reported by The Guildford Dragon NEWS in August, an independent investigation into the complaint, understood to have cost the council more than £1,000, concluded: “…by making her comment, Councillor Moseley reduced public confidence in her own role and adversely affected the reputation of the council. I find therefore that Councillor Moseley has brought her office and the council into disrepute.”

He recommended that an apology from Cllr Moseley was appropriate and wrote: “…in his initial assessment, the monitoring officer concluded that if Councillor Moseley were to make a public apology for her comment, this would constitute a reasonable resolution to the complaints. Having completed my investigation, I share this view.”

Previously it appeared that the lack of an apology since August, when the report was submitted, was a sign of an impasse between the former monitoring officer, Satish Mistry, and Cllr Moseley. But his interim replacement, Sandra Herbert, wrote in her email, marked confidential, with the note from Councillor Moseley attached, to each of the three complainants Garry Walton, Helen Jefferies and Michael Bruton:

“Please find attached a signed letter from Councillor Marsha Moseley responding  to your e-mail complaint dated 7 April 2016, following  the Council’s Planning Committee of 6 April 2016.

“As you will see, the letter provides an apology and I take the view that it suitably and sensibly resolves the issue of your complaint.  I have referred the resolution to the Independent Person, Roger Pett, who has confirmed to me that he is satisfied that we have a reasonable resolution and should now move forward on this basis.

“I would be grateful if you could confirm to me directly please that, following the lead of the Independent Person, this now settles your complaint against Councillor Moseley.  Please could you confirm this by e mail within the next 48 hours.

All three complainants, members of the public who were present at the April meeting and who were members or former members of the Guildford Greenbelt Group, confirmed this evening (November 21) that they had rejected the apology from Cllr Moseley because it was not in line with the recommended course of action contained in the investigation report. One described the note as a “non-apology”.

Guildford Borough Council has been invited to comment.

See also: Council Leader Says His Colleague Should Apologise For ‘Bloody Rabble’ Remark ‘Bloody Rabble’ Remark – Investigation Recommends Councillor Apologises


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Responses to Complainants Reject Private Apology From ‘Bloody Rabble’ Councillor

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    November 21, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    The remark was made in a public place, to a public servant whilst carrying out an official council (public) duty and was broadcast live at the public meeting.

    Whether or not the intention was to broadcast the remark to the public – that is what in fact happened. And whether or not the remark was intended to be private, the sentiment expressed is still offensive whether expressed in public or in private.

    Significantly, the purported ‘apology’ does not express any regret about the sentiments expressed, which show disdain for the public. It merely regrets, in effect, that the councillor did not turn off her microphone. In other words, the clear inference is that the councillor feels no need to apologise for stating that the public is a ‘bloody rabble’ only for stating it in public.

    The public is rightly concerned that someone who purports to serve the public interest should feel justified in considering the public to be a bloody rabble provided that the opinion is privately expressed to public officials.

    This betrays the insincerity of councillors who say one thing in public and another in private. There is not a hint of concern for the suffering that the council has inflicted on the public through its botched Local Plan process over the past four years which has blighted the homes of thousands of residents with the real threat of excessive development, chronic congestion, and shown blatant disregard for due process.

    Someone, such as this councillor, with so little sympathy for the residents of Guildford should not be allowed to chair public meetings. Many of those present at that public meeting and who have seen this councillor’s rough treatment of the public and fellow councillors alike, in other meetings, suspect that far from being an unrepresentative ‘slip of the tongue’, the remark “bloody rabble” probably represents the councillor’s true opinion of the public.

    The pitiful failure to offer a sincere apology further reinforces the impression made. How can this be, if the remark was only intended to be heard by a civil servant? Is it because the councillor expected the civil servant to share her opinion of the public? Is it part the culture of Guildford Borough Council and its officials to hold the public in contempt?

  2. L Kearney Reply

    November 22, 2016 at 9:54 am

    No idea why these people are so upset – they need to get over themselves and get on with living. So what if they were called ‘rabble’ – they were unruly, noisy and rude.

  3. Jules Cranwell Reply

    November 22, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    This is utterly disgraceful, and brings further disrepute upon the council. Cllr Moseley seeks to have this blow over by issuing a less than half-hearted apology to three individuals, whereas she insulted a full council chamber.

    It’s about time the council leader showed an example and got her to resign.

    She clearly holds the public in contempt and is not fit to represent us.

  4. Nick Bomford Reply

    November 23, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    I too complained to the managing director [email sent: 27 April 2016 13:28] about Cllr Moseley’s “unfortunate” remark.

    Sadly I am not a member of, nor am I connected to any political group, so I have not had the satisfaction of even this private apology. I await a public apology from someone who has brought the whole system of local governance into disrepute.

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