Councillor could face Standards Board again

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A COUNCILLOR who was cautioned for assaulting his political rival after a council meeting could face referral to the local government watchdog.

Independent Cllr Dave Smith, who sits on Gosport Borough Council, was arrested by police last month after lashing out at the town’s Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr Peter Chegwyn.

Injured Peter Chegwyn

Injured Peter Chegwyn

The council says either councillor could make a complaint to its standards committee.

The committee would then consider the report before deciding what action to take, including referral to the Standards Board for England.

Now Cllr Chegwyn has threatened to refer Cllr Smith unless he quits the council.

He said: ‘If he doesn’t resign to the council he will be reported to the Standards Board.

‘In his own interest he should just walk away.

‘If he doesn’t do so I’m left with no alternative but to report him.

‘He has a police caution on his record.

‘I hope he will do the honourable thing first and just go.’

Cllr Chegwyn was left with minor cuts and bruises after the attack which happened after a meeting of the council’s policy and organisation board on September 28.

Cllr Smith, a former Lib Dem councillor turned independent, said: ‘I won’t report him because I’m not using an unelected quango to settle scores.

‘He is trying to make me unelectable for next May.

‘He knows I have a lot of support and he can’t afford to lose Leesland ward.’

Both councillors have been referred to the Standards Board before.

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

And Cllr Chegwyn was reported to the Standards Board 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.

The Lib Dem leader says Cllr Smith, who quit the Gosport group to become an independent, has been suspended from the party.

But Cllr Smith said he resigned from the Lib Dems months ago.