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Letter: I Apologise to Julie Iles

Published on: 22 Dec, 2021
Updated on: 22 Dec, 2021

From: George Potter

Lib Dem borough and county councillor

In response to: Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

I am sorry Ms Iles is so disappointed by my delay in responding to her email.

The reason for the delay is simple: I was provided with a copy of the decision letter on Friday, December 3. As of Saturday, December 4, I began feeling unwell and remained very unwell until the end of the following week, with the result that dealing with either council emails or my day job was beyond me.

By the time of the following weekend I was feeling well again and had begun catching up on the emails I had missed while unwell, but there were several more urgently pressing emails I had to deal with before I could respond to Ms Iles’ email of the December 7.

The following week I was obliged to self-isolate in an Airbnb (for the sake of protecting my partner) after being notified that I had been in contact with a Covid case; in between the disruption of self-isolating, doing my day job and focusing on more time-critical council issues (not to mention reorganising Christmas plans), I simply ran out of time to respond to Ms Iles’ email.

Following this regrettable delay, I had intended to write to Ms Iles this week (tomorrow, in point of fact), but obviously, I am very happy to apologise to her for having taken so long to respond, and I hope she will understand that this was a result of unfortunate circumstance rather than, as she suggests, an indication that I feel unwilling to comply with the monitoring officer’s advice.

I wish to assure Ms Iles that it was always my intention to comply with the advice that an apology or form of conciliatory wording would be appropriate.

I had intended to simply write to Ms Iles directly, but in light of her letter to The Dragon, I am happy for the conciliatory wording to be made public in this response to her letter.

The conciliatory wording I had intended to send this week simply states the following:

I apologise for, and regret it, if the form of wording I used gave the impression that I meant that your character is fundamentally dishonest.

What I had intended to convey was an opinion on your behaviour rather than on your character. My wording was intended to express that what you had said was, in my opinion, a fundamentally dishonest thing to say.

It remains my view that the remarks you made about Cllr Cross were both disparaging and deliberately misleading, and I continue to hope that you will reconsider the wisdom and appropriateness of those remarks.

However, as I expressed to the monitoring officer, the fact that I did not intend to suggest that you are fundamentally dishonest does not change the fact that this is clearly the implication you drew and which others may have drawn. As an elected representative I am aware that I should be mindful of the need to try to raise the tone of the debate as much as possible and to be careful in what I say.

Fundamentally my comments, regardless of their intent, did not contribute to a good standard of healthy public debate. I apologise for that and will do my best to do better in future and to exercise more caution in my choice of words.

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test One Response to Letter: I Apologise to Julie Iles

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    December 24, 2021 at 11:55 am

    Not much of an apology then from Cllr Potter. Julie Iles deserves better.

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