Lib Dem leader told he must ‘retrain’ after council ruling

Peter Chegwyn
Peter Chegwyn

Portsmouth council leader condemns Barcelona attack

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TWO councillors who faced investigation over their conduct have had their cases dealt with by standards officers.

Independent councillor Dave Smith and Liberal Democrat Peter Chegwyn, who both sit on Gosport Borough Council, complained about each other to their council’s standards committee.

Cllr Smith has now been told he will have no action taken against him.

But Cllr Chegwyn must have training on the council’s code of conduct.

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

The Lib Dem leader complained about the assault while his rival complained about being provoked.

In a letter to Cllr Smith, Richard Perry, the chairman of the council’s standards committee, said: ‘We understand you have been cautioned by police as they decided the incident did not warrant full prosecution.

‘In addition there were no members of the public present at the time of the incident, nor other members.

‘In the circumstances, we have decided to take no further action on the complaint but would remind you that your behaviour was unacceptable.

‘No further sanction is to be considered, but please ensure your future conduct is in compliance with the code of conduct.’

Cllr Smith said their argument had nothing to do with council business and is down to a personal dispute.

He said: ‘The incident between myself and Cllr Chegwyn was a private matter and was nothing to do with council business.

‘It wasn’t in council business time therefore this was the outcome I expected.

‘I’ve been punished enough and I have made two public apologies.

‘I still feel bad for letting my friends and colleagues down.

‘In 57 years I have never been in trouble and I let everyone down but everyone has a breaking point.’

A decision notice issued by the council’s standards and governance assessment sub-committee said Cllr Chegwyn’s conduct constituted a ‘possible’ breach of the council’s code of conduct.

Cllr Chegwyn said: ‘I’m not going to do any training because I have done nothing wrong.

‘They can ask me but they can’t make me.

‘They haven’t investigated me and the outcome shows I have done nothing wrong.

‘I think they don’t want to waste any more money on investigating councillors.

‘Dave Smith’s conduct was totally unacceptable.

‘The public will pass judgement on him come election time.’

A council spokeswoman said if Cllr Chegwyn refuses the training, he would be reported back to the standards committee.