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Council Leaders Make Public Apology For Bad Behaviour at Extraordinary Meeting

Published on: 11 Oct, 2013
Updated on: 14 Oct, 2013

Guildford Borough councillors Stephen Mansbridge, the council leader and Conservative group leader, and David Goodwin, the leader of the Lib Dem group, apologised publicly last night (October 10) for their bad behaviour during the Ash planning debate in an extraordinary full council meeting on September 24.

Proceedings at last night’s full council meeting commenced with their apologies. Both read from prepared statements.

Cllr David Goodwin, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Guildford Borough Council

Cllr David Goodwin, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Guildford Borough Council.

Cllr Goodwin said: “I have had time to consider the advice given by Guildford Borough Council’s monitoring officer following the extraordinary council meeting on 24th September.

“On reflection my final comments in which I implied that Cllr Mansbridge was in the pub and therefore unavailable for officers was incorrect, tactless and possibly a breach of the councillors’ code of conduct.

“I therefore wish to withdraw this comment and now accept that I should have done so when invited by the interim head of legal services.

“I would like to make it clear that in no way did I mean to disrespect the leader or his ability to undertake his duties and I have written to him personally to apologise. I also recognised that my comments have caused upset to some members of the public who were at at the meeting and wish to apologise to them.

“I did not mean to disrespect them and thank them for taking the time to attend the meeting, public participation, as we see this evening, being an important aspect of our democratic process.

“I do however feel that it is important that there is mutual respect between officers and members in this organisation and, with this in mind, I have asked the monitoring officer to consider training for councillors on how to deal with officers and each other to ensure that this respect is demonstrated in future.

Cllr Stephen Mansbridge, council leader and leader of the Tory group.

Cllr Stephen Mansbridge, council leader and leader of the Tory group.

Cllr Mansbridge said: “I would like to inform the council that I have already written to individual officers apologising for my comments at the last council meeting when we were dealing with the planning application for Ash Lodge Drive.

“I also wish to publicly apologise to officers, fellow councillors and to members of the public for my style of delivery at the council meeting on the 24th September.

“I realise that I did not pay proper respect to the officers present and I am sorry for the upset and offence that I caused.

The incident, only fully reported in The Guildford dragon NEWS, caused gasps of shock among members of the public present at the meeting. Some councillors described it as the worst meeting they had ever attended.

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