Gosport councillors might face standards watchdog – again

AT ODDS Independent Cllr Dave Smith and Lib Dem Cllr Peter Chegwyn, inset, could both face the local government watchdog
AT ODDS Independent Cllr Dave Smith and Lib Dem Cllr Peter Chegwyn, inset, could both face the local government watchdog
Former deputy mayor of Fareham Chris Wood.

Picture: Sarah Standing

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TWO councillors could be hauled up before the local government watchdog.

Independent Cllr Dave Smith and Liberal Democrat Cllr Peter Chegwyn, who both sit on Gosport Borough Council, made complaints about each other to the council’s standards committee.

AT ODDS Lib Dem Cllr Peter Chegwyn could face the local government watchdog

AT ODDS Lib Dem Cllr Peter Chegwyn could face the local government watchdog

The committee has decided to refer the complaints to Standards for England.

It comes after Cllr Smith was cautioned by police in September for assaulting Cllr Chegwyn after a council meeting.

Both councillors have made complaints about each other’s behaviour and they have both faced the standards board before.

Cllr Smith said: ‘Our altercation was private and personal and nothing to do with council business.

‘The police dealt with that and I apologised to him publicly.

‘After taking legal advice and advice from others I decided to put in a written complaint.’

Standards for England could decide to hold an investigation into one or both claims.

It could also refer the complaints back to Gosport’s own standards committee to deal with the matter itself or throw the claims out completely.

Cllr Chegwyn said: ‘I’m not fussed about it because I know I have done nothing wrong.

‘It’s just tit-for-tat. He got arrested and cautioned and I didn’t.

‘I have no love for the standards board regime but it was the only course of action open to me.’

A sub-committee of Gosport council’s standards committee met twice in the past two weeks to examine the complaints made by the councillors.

The sub-committee then decided to refer the complaints to Standards for England.

Both councillors have been referred to the standards board before.

Cllr Chegwyn was reported after he voted to block a motion on his Stokes Bay Festival from being discussed.

This resulted in a two-year disqualification which was later reduced at the High Court to a two-month suspension in 2009.

And Cllr Smith finished a 12-month suspension earlier this year for calling council officers corrupt.

A spokeswoman for Standards for England confirmed it had received a referral from the town’s standards committee and said the matters were at an assessment stage.