Jacob Williams
Thursday 16th October, 2014

Bryn Parry-Jones pay-off voting list

This afternoon every single member present from the council’s ruling party, the IPPG, voted to approve a pay-off for the authority’s under-fire chief executive, Bryn Parry-Jones.

The deal, which the BBC reports is worth an approximate £330,000 for Mr. Parry-Jones, was debated and approved in secret session after an opposition-led bid to hold it in the open was blocked by the ruling group.

The chief executive’s employment at the authority will cease at the end of this month and the deal will bring to an end – without conclusion – the disciplinary proceedings against him for allegations about his conduct.

The 26-strong ruling IPPG contingent were assisted with votes of support from Cllrs. Alison Lee, David Lloyd and Stan Hudson.

Until this morning and since winning first election in 2012, Cllr. Lee had served as a Labour back-bench councillor, on the opposition benches.

Two days before this afternoon’s key vote, Cllr. Lee was promoted to the cabinet by IPPG leader, Cllr. Jamie Adams, without the endorsement of her Labour group, who removed her affiliation. Cllr. Lee, who now sits as an unaffiliated member in the cabinet, was joined by Cllr. David Lloyd, also unaffiliated, and Cllr. Stan Hudson, Conservative.

The deal was approved by 29 votes to 23. All members who voted against were from the opposition.

I intend to update further either on Friday or the weekend, but I reproduce the recorded vote on the pay-off, below:

FOR (29)

Jamie Adams (IPPG)

John Allen-Mirehouse (IPPG)

Daphne Bush (IPPG)

Mark Edwards (IPPG)

Lyndon Frayling (IPPG)

Huw George (IPPG)

Brian Hall (IPPG)

Simon Hancock (IPPG)

Umelda Havard (IPPG)

Stan Hudson (Conservative)

Mike James (IPPG)

Lyn Jenkins (IPPG)

Michael John (IPPG)

Alison Lee (Unaffiliated, ex-Labour)

Keith Lewis (IPPG)

Rob Lewis (IPPG)

Pearl Llewellyn (IPPG)

David Lloyd (Unaffiliated)

Peter Morgan (IPPG)

Elwyn Morse (IPPG)

Myles Pepper (IPPG)

Sue Perkins (IPPG)

David Pugh (IPPG)

David Rees (IPPG)

Tom Richards (IPPG)

Ken Rowlands (IPPG)

Rob Summons (IPPG)

Arwyn Williams (IPPG)

Steve Yelland (IPPG)

29

AGAINST (23)

Phil Baker (Unaffiliated)

Tony Brinsden (Unaffiliated)

David Bryan (Conservative)

Pat Davies (Labour)

Mike Evans (Unaffiliated)

Tessa Hodgson (Unaffiliated)

David Howlett (Conservative)

Owen James (Unaffiliated)

Stephen Joseph (Unaffiliated)

Phil Kidney (Unaffiliated)

Bob Kilmister (Pembrokeshire Alliance)

Paul Miller (Labour)

Jonathan Nutting (Pembrokeshire Alliance)

Jonathan Preston (Plaid Cymru)

Gwilym Price (Labour)

David Simpson (Unaffiliated)

Rhys Sinnett (Plaid Cymru)

Peter Stock (Pembrokeshire Alliance)

Mike Stoddart (Unaffiliated)

Vivien Stoddart (Unaffiliated)

Tony Wilcox (Labour)

Jacob Williams (Unaffiliated)

Guy Woodham (Labour)

23

ABSENT (8)

Rod Bowen (Plaid Cymru) – John Davies (IPPG) – Wynne Evans (IPPG) – Paul Harries (IPPG) – David Neale (IPPG) – Reg Owens (IPPG) – Tom Tudor (Labour) – Michael Williams (Plaid Cymru)

There were no abstentions.


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102 Comments...

  • Welshman 23

    Well BPJ is going but at a cost of nearly a third of a million pounds. The people that voted for this ridiculous payment have lost their brains. I hope these councillors are bombarded with emails, phone calls etc and are given so much grief they are forced to resign and get replaced. These councillors must consider the grief their families will get from the electorate.

    They are a spineless shower and reap what they sow, the pressure has moved from BPJ to you spineless creatures who have used our money to pay off BPJ.

    As for Rod Bowen, John Davies, Wynne Evans, Paul Harries, David Neale, Reg Owens, Tom Tudor and Michael Williams – you all need to explain why you were absent from this vote, you better have good reasons.

  • John

    Is there any explanation please why the 8 listed as absent were absent?

  • Peter Nutter

    I think it was Radiohead who recorded the track “No Surprises”, Jacob. That’s precisely what we have here. In film terms, the yes voters are not so much The Usual Suspects as the useless ones.

  • Robin Wilson

    This vote was an illustration of the spineless cabal which is the IPPG party, supported by some misguided acolytes. This will be remembered.

  • Kelvin Thomas

    Well done Jacob. Unbelievable result today. Something has to be done? But what? Working on a plan!

  • Peter Stock

    Welshman, unfortunately Cllr. Wynne Evans was taken ill during the debate and was taken to Withybush hospital by Cllr. Tom Tudor before the vote was taken.

  • Observer

    Thanks for letting us know Peter. That accounts for two of today’s missing councillors. Did the other six help to carry the stretcher?

  • Simply Stunned

    I saw Wynne on the webcam earlier, I didn’t know he was taken ill, hope he is ok?

  • During the secret session debate I noticed Jamie Adams came over and spoke to Wynne. Not long afterwards, Wynne walked out. Nobody knew why he left, I assumed he would be back. Shortly afterwards Tom Tudor went out. A few minutes later Tom came back in to collect his things and said he was going to take Wynne to Withybush. Neither of them returned.

    I understand Michael Williams sent his apologies due to illness, Rod Bowen due to work commitments. I haven’t heard about the others.

  • Flashbang

    Why weren’t the 8 allowed a postal or proxy vote? As for Rod Bowen what is the county paying you for if you are not going to do the job? In my view the 8 took the coward’s way out and any excuses are just so much flannel. IPPG stooges hiding behind women’s skirts.

  • Bob

    So the 3 non-IPPG councillors that voted to give BPJ almost a third of a million quid carried the vote.

    Alison Lee, hang your head in shame, along with David Lloyd and Stan Hudson. Also, how Mark Edwards and Peter Morgan can vote for the pay-off, thus ending the investigation into his behaviour and conduct, is a total mystery. Spineless does not an accurately describe these councillors, and I’m sure it does not reflect the views of their constituents.

    Can those of us that object to the pay-off refuse to pay any increase in council tax that will be required to cover it? 2017 cannot come quick enough.

  • Keanjo

    How is the £330,000 made up. Under his contract he would be entitled to 3 months pay in lieu of notice (£50,0000), a lump sum related to his pension of over a year’s pay (say £250,000). Is the pay off inclusive of these sums or separate ? What happens to the Porsche? The public should be informed about these matters. After all, we provide the money and we have a right to know how it is spent. I am beginning to think that Local Authorities in Wales are an unnecessary layer of costly bureaucracy which should be abandoned.

  • Jon Boy Jovi

    Was this a vote where any Councillors should have declared an interest and left the meeting? I’d think this would be a high number but it would well have made an interesting result. The outcome of finding £330,000 (reserves/budget?) will be considered relevant if the Council goes down the route of compulsory redundancy.

  • It was most unfortunate that Wynne Evans had to leave because in an earlier recorded vote on whether to exclude the public and press he was the only member of the IPPG to vote against the party line.

    There was, therefore, at least a chance that he would repeat his rebellion on the vote on the substantive issue. And, of course, with Tom Tudor (Labour) accompanying him to Withybush, that was, we might assume, another opposition vote lost.

  • Andrew Meyrick

    This payment is obscene when the Council is having its budget reduced and cutting back on services it provides.

  • Deno

    Any bets BPJ is handed a job with a quango like the Welsh Local Government Association or the UK Local Government Association or even worse, a Welsh Health Board?

  • Martin Lewis

    Peter Morgan, Mark Edwards and David Lloyd will be suitably rewarded in the coming days. Jamie Adams looked on the verge of a breakdown on the Welsh news last night, he’s running on an empty tank. Keep up the pressure, these people HAVE to fall, and SOON!!

  • Les

    This debacle has its genesis I think in the pensions scandal – I know there is a general theme of alleged incompetence running through his time at PCC but it is probably the pension scandal that has really brought things to a head.

    The political accountability must be accepted and it should include those who approved the unlawful pension scheme in the first place. It’s a pity ex-leader John Davies wasn’t present yesterday to give his contribution to the debate – could have been interesting.

    In relation to Ms Lee – what has her voting record been like in recent times during confidence motions involving the CE. Is there proven gross hypocrisy in her current position?

  • Welshman 23

    Apologies and get well soon Wynne Evans. Rod Bowen – work commitments, not sure what your job is but I would like remind you that you are paid by me and Pembrokeshire people, you should have turned up and voted.

    Can someone tell me his track record for attending meetings. You avoided the issue so you can tell your constituents at the next election I was dead against the golden handshake so please vote for me. I hope this month’s pay cheque you receive is donated to charity as you did not attend this most important meeting in the council’s history.

    As to the others that have not declared why they did not attend, please let us know.

    By the way Bob, I used spineless because the words I wanted to use may have got me into trouble.

  • Malcolm Calver

    I see that half of the “Party of Wales'” members, Cllrs Rod Bowen and Michael Williams, were absent.

    How can Rod Bowen give “work commitments” as a reason for absence, I thought he was gainfully employed as a county councillor or has he stopped drawing a salary? I can remember MPs being carried into Westminster on stretchers to vote so unless Cllr Williams has Ebola I would suggest he has failed his electorate in Tenby. Cllr Williams has been mouthing on about Mr Bryn Parry Jones and the IPG for weeks, yet when the crunch comes he failed miserably.

    Please could someone (perhaps a county councillor) explain why BPJ has received this financial compensation, on what basis it was calculated, and also is this the final and total amount he is to receive.

    As several county councils in Wales are about to reduce salaries of staff it is crucial that Pembrokeshire County Council examine and reduce the salaries of senior officers, especially any incoming Chief Executive.

  • Peter Warrender

    This vote shows what our councillors think about the feelings of the people of Pembrokeshire. 90% of the councillors that voted for the golden handshake are IPPG members. This group are ignoring the electorate’s wishes. Their strangle hold on Pembrokeshire County Council needs to be smashed.

    It is always this self serving majority that is dragging our county/council down into disrepute. Our elected councillors need to be intelligent and care for their county and its people, sadly a great deal of our councillors are just a bunch of self serving altruistic individuals whose decisions are toxic for Pembrokeshire.

    Let’s get selfless men and women of honour that truly care about Pembrokeshire elected to the position of councillor. Show this failing useless shower the door. Roll on the next elections.

  • Ianto

    Did I hear correctly that Wynne Evans voted against going into private session? If he did no wonder Jamie so quickly identified his pressing medical problem!

  • Michael Williams

    Believe me I wish I could have been in attendance. I might have coped if other members hadn’t minded me frequently vomiting into a carefully placed bucket. Malcolm Calver is for once correct.

    I have pursued this awful man for many years and put down a motion of no confidence in him over twelve years ago. In those days I was an almost lone voice. I can assure you that I would have voted against any pay off, or to go in to private.

    I hope you will now excuse me while I acquaint myself once again with the bathroom.

  • Timetraveller

    Well that get’s BPJ well up in the TaxPayers’ Alliance Town Hall Rich List, (though not the top spot believe it or not.) Also possibly yet another mention in Rotten Boroughs.

    Moving on, Bryn’s replacement should come from North of the Teifi, if their CX could take on both roles, or a senior officer under him to act in some role. Amalgamation is coming and the sharp practices that plague Pembs, tolerated, if not actually instigated by the previous incumbent, need to be tackled.

    Pembs lacks political direction, Bryn was left to run the county as a personal fiefdom, it now needs officers who are not going to take advantage of such a situation, but be principled and scrupulous. Hire another villain and you will get the same result – another big payout!

  • Patrick

    Are all the councillors who voted on Bryn P-J’s exit package absolutely sure that they represented the views of their electors? Did they take the trouble to discover local opinion? Are councillors representatives or party functionaries? Answering these questions will illuminate the state of local democracy.

  • The Rock

    What secret is worth one third of a million pounds?

  • Dave Edwards

    Ian Westley is to be the acting Head of Paid Service for up to 12 months on a salary around £140k I believe.

  • Welshman 23

    Michael, a lame excuse, are there no toilets in the Kremlin? You should have made the effort – the party of Wales? I do not think so.

    Poor old Wynne made the effort and ended in hospital.

  • John Hudson

    So that’s it, no one person is responsible or accountable for the failure of basic administrative procedures highlighted original in a judicial review, when the High Court judge found that PCC could not evidence its decision making process, or the reasons why it had determined what it had. Sounds to me much like the pension flawed process identified by the WAO as unlawful but defended stoutly by some Councillors, and it must be said officers.

    As we were not privy, are we to be told where the money is to be found for this pay-off? Perhaps the question wasn’t even asked, much less weighed up as competing priorities. So much for decision making in the light of all relevant circumstances.

    While on the subject of propriety in decision making, were there any expressions of interest declared when considering this matter, as required by the Members’ code of Conduct?

    Is there to be an investigation into why things were allowed to go so wrong so that holes can be plugged and some responsibility and accountability can be clearly identified, or will things be allowed to continue on unaffected?

    The 2012/13 and 2013/14 accounts of the two police forces are available on their respective websites. Both include a detailed page for officers’ remuneration. These reveal that some officers’ annual remuneration did not include any employer’s pension contribution. Of course we do not know how these pension arrangements were arrived at, but we are assured that there is no question of criminality in PCC’s arrangements.

  • Pedant

    Peter Warrender: “a bunch of self serving altruistic individuals” makes no sense because self-serving and altruistic are antonyms.

    Timetraveller. You will have the wimmin after your blood – “under him to act in some role” – because the CE of Ceredigion is Miss Bronwen Morgan.

  • John Hudson

    Dave – Re Ian Westley’s appointment and salary. Hasn’t the Independent Remuneration Panel now got a statutory say in this, or is Pembrokeshire still a law unto itself?

    Perhaps the Panel’s ok was obtained before these arrangements were agreed by Council?

  • Patrick

    According to WalesOnline, the Wales Audit Office said that the papers relating to the proposed severance arrangements for the chief executive had been passed to the assistant auditor general and were being reviewed.

  • John

    Michael Williams claims he has ‘pursued this awful man for many years’. The very same awful man that he voted to employ despite the numerous warnings he had received from the then members of Llanelli ‘warning me that he had been a disaster with them’, and the fact that Carmarthenshire had steered clear of him.

    Now, on the vote as to whether he should receive a pay off, he was absent. I think the voters can draw their own conclusions.

  • Dave Edwards

    John, as Westley is merely “acting HoPS” I understand it is not within the remit of the Independent Remuneration Panel.

  • Dave Edwards

    Can I suggest that your readers visit the Information Commissioner’s website and study Decision No FS50517278. In this case, Derby CC paid off their CEO and claimed to a requester under the FoIA that they would publish the details in due course, meaning at the next annual inspection of accounts. The requester appealed and the ICO held that they should not wait but publish immediately.

    I have submitted an FOIA reminding PCC of the ICO’s view.

  • China Teapot

    Let’s not forget two people were/are in receipt of the “unlawful” payments. Has this botch job only sorted one? Which one of the three non-IPPG councillors who voted with the IPPG will now become Deputy Leader?

  • Jon Boy Jovi

    Mark Edwards, Peter Morgan, Alison Lee, Michael Williams, Tom Tudor, Wynne Evans. If they’d stood tall on their principles and virtues yesterday would have been different.

    Another investigation incomplete and the person in question walks away with a golden handshake. We have learnt nothing beyond the 2005 investigation into the youth worker. No excuses needed from Morgan and Edwards. They started the investigation with their exposure and put Simpson in an undeniably awkward situation.

  • John

    It was with incredulity that I saw Cllr Michael Williams ambling along Heywood Lane in Tenby a short while ago, walking in a way that was hardly the gait of someone keen not to stray too far from the bathroom.

    My incredulity was then heightened further when he proceeded up to the entrance of Heywood Lane Infants School, ringing the intercom bell and then entering the school when a member of staff answered.

    This is the same man, who, in his post on this website at 9.39am asked to be excused so that he could acquaint himself with the bathroom again.

    Cllr Michael Williams claimed he was ‘frequently vomiting’ yesterday, and gave the impression in his comment at 9.39 am today that he was still suffering this morning.

    What are we to conclude from this?

    In any event, if an adult is suffering from illness, I would have thought a visit to an Infants School and the clear risk of spreading any germs would have been the last thing on the agenda?

  • Keanjo

    Well spotted John but you have to wonder why?

  • Malcolm Calver

    Come on Cllr Michael Williams, was it you walking up Heywood Lane and into the infants school at 2pm, or do you have a double? It has often been said that “the sea air is good for you” or maybe you have some other miracle cure.

    Please councillors (all of you) remember it is our taxes you are playing around with.

  • Quill

    One theory I had to explain why as many as eight councillors were absent for yesterday’s crucial vote was that they had all decided the money they could save on their travelling expense claims could go towards Bryn’s golden handshake.

    That was until I realised the serial expense claimer Wynne Evans was among their number.

    Of course, when I realised Wynne was actually there all day until he fell ill just before the big vote (having already failed to toe the party line when he rebelled against excluding the public) I felt a bit guilty for coming up with such a theory.

    I expect Jamie noticed he was looking a little weary from across the chamber. Being the caring sort, Jamie probably went over and said to Wynne something like “I think you’d best get yourself checked out at Withybush hospital. You could seriously jeopardise your long-term health and well-being if you ignore my advice”.

  • Jon Boy Jovi, as you say, Cllr David Simpson is in an “awkward situation”.

    He told the Herald that Cllrs Mark Edwards and Peter Morgan came to his house in Clunderwen to ask his advice about what to do about the pressure Cllr Rob Lewis was exerting on Cllr Morgan not to testify to the disciplinary committee which had been set up to investigate alleged wrongdoing by the chief executive.

    Cllr Simpson took this apparent attempt to interfere with a witness so seriously that he resigned from the Cabinet. However, when Cllr Morgan appeared before the disciplinary committee he told it that he had never been subjected to any such pressure.

    In answer to my question at yesterday’s meeting, Cllr Jamie Adams said that he had received the same “categorical” assurance from Cllr Morgan, as had both the disciplinary chairman Cllr Keith Lewis and vice chairman Cllr David Lloyd.

    So it seems clear that either Cllr Simpson, or Cllr Morgan, is not telling the truth. Perhaps Cllr Edwards will step up to the mark and resolve the question. A fuller account of these events can be found at http://oldgrumpy.co.uk/2014/1496/stranger-than-truth/

  • Scorpio

    Enough is enough. How can decent respectable people (remember them?) teach their children about morality, when those they are supposed to look up to act with such contempt.

    First, BPJ gets a massive reward for abject failure at our expense. Second, a councillor joins the cabinet without consulting her own party, which is at best incompetence.

    These scandals represent only the tip of a very big iceberg at the council. It seems clear to me that all good councillors who truly care for this county, are out gunned at every pass. The only ones who can put things right now are the people of the county. To this end it is time to start calling for elections, not in 2017, but as soon as possible.

    Let’s take the vote out of the Kremlin and put it into the hands of the people.

  • Welshman 23

    I hope Ian Westley wasn’t the other person who received the pension payment. If not I wish him the best of luck. One suggestion for him is to start repairing the tarnished reputation of Pembrokeshire, be open and honest with the people of Sir Benfro. There is a glimmer of hope in that the Wales Audit Office are looking at yesterday’s settlement.

  • Fabian

    I see it didn’t take Alison Lee long to realise what was expected of her. I bet she gets a good view of the plebs from her lofty cabinet perch.

    Do you find the attention you’re receiving hurtful Alison? What did you expect? How do you think everyone else feels about what you’ve done? Just like Sue Perkins and Simon Hancock before you, you chose bread over red. I don’t know how you can sleep at night after throwing your morals and principles into the gutter for your thirty pieces of silver.

    Let’s start a campaign to bring back Kate Becton to the council. For all her troubles she is a lady of conviction and had some guts and spine and would never sell herself like that.

  • Scorpio, it should also be remembered that the Cabinet contains a Magistrate (Cllr Simon Hancock) and a Baptist preacher (Cllr Huw George).

    If they can’t be expected to value the truth, what hope is there for we ordinary mortals?

  • Robert Williams

    I think the comments concerning Mike Williams of Tenby are completely out of order. A bug can last 24 hours and if Michael says he was ill, then why would anyone doubt this. His record of voting against IPPG and BPJ is there for all to see.

    I suggest that rather than focus on MW of Tenby, people need to focus on other Councillors. I am from Tenby and I was very proud to see mine, Mike Evans, make a stand. I’m sure Mike Williams would have done so too if he was not ill.

    I then refer you all to the surrounding Wards around Tenby: Penally (Jonathan Preston), Saundersfoot (Phil Baker), East Williamson (Jacob Williams) and Manorbier (Phil Kidney) all voted, respectfully, the correct way. Kilgetty (David Pugh) was the only exception.

    Maybe the Pembrokeshire people should look at other areas in Pembrokeshire for reasons why the obscene sum was approved – without, I might add, a conclusion from the Disciplinary Committee, which I find quite incredible.

    I will give you all a reference to another area in Pembrokeshire: Pembroke/Pembroke Dock, where Cllrs Alison Lee, Daphne Bush, Pearl Llewellyn, Brian Hall, Arwyn Williams and Sue Perkins all voted for the ‘package’.

    Therefore, rather on focusing on a genuine illness, I respectfully suggest you focus on the Councillors in your Wards who clearly have let you down. The fault does not lie in my area or with my respected, impartial and educated Councillors (with one exception, naturally).

  • Goldingsboy

    I see that Old Grumpy has yet another mention in Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs column concerning the dodgy grants in Pembroke Dock. I wonder if the boys in blue will give it some attention now? I’m not holding my breath.

  • Jon Boy Jovi

    Rob Williams – great response. What should have been a political heartbeat making a stand for Pembrokeshire ends up as bread and butter for the IPPG, they just took the dough.

    Socialist virtues and principles Lee, Perkins and Hancock? No right minded red flag waving supporter would have done what you did. Mighty Miller’s Westminster Wagon might have been derailed before it hit full speed because of you. There is no Tory comments as Stephen Crabb is lapping up the current lurching Labour defectors. One queries the Hudson party line vote mind!

    These last two days have shown unequivocally the need for a strong political base from which to build. A truly strong political overview would have put the defectors in their place. BPJ wouldn’t have walked away with £330,000 as a pay off!

    Knowing the way politics work in Pembrokeshire it wouldn’t surprise me to see him emerge as a potential leader of the IPPG (renamed the BPJ) party in the near future.

  • Scorpio

    Good point Mike, all the more reason to take the vote out of the Kremlin and put it in the hands of the people.

    We are told that Tom Tudor took Wynne Evans to hospital. If Cllr Evans was that ill, then why was no ambulance called, or a member of staff at the Kremlin delegated to take him? I am sure that I am not the only one who is surprised at this!

  • Welshman 23

    It would not be a surprise if BPJ gets am MBE for services to local government there are enough lap dogs that would endorse his nomination. On a serious note, when will the details of his pay-off be known including pension payments etc etc. And finally how much have we spent on legal fees involving this fiasco.

  • Martin Lewis

    At least 3 people who voted AGAINST the pay-off are happy that it happened as it’s deflected much criticism from them. Step forward Cllrs Kilmister, Nutting & Stock.

    How different things could have been if Bob had taken the 30 pieces of silver. Alison Lee would never have needed to be 3rd choice. Excellent point detailing how Pembroke and Pembroke have become a bedrock of the IPPG, quite unbelievable. I seriously struggle to see how these people rest peacefully at night.

    Jamie Adams looked REALLY stressed and worn out on the news last night. Pleading for this to be the end of it and for people to move forward together for the good of Pembrokeshire and all the other usual bullsh!t cliches.

    The business with BPJ, Morgan and Edwards stinks and I’ll give good odds that Morgan will be appointed Deputy Leader within the week as his reward for keeping his mouth shy and buckling under pressure from Jamie and his cronies. What a fall from grace from what I always believed was quite a well respected councillor, notwithstanding his membership of the IPPG.

    As many people as possible have been selling their souls for money over the last 3 years of this council as they see the writing on the wall. The IPPG would have crumbled by now if it weren’t for scabs like Hancock, Perkins and Lee. I make no apologies for such language, these are despicable people.

    Brian Hall is my councillor, probably the most hard-headed on the council, but when Simon Hancock was my councillor I took him to task on his decision to join the IPPG and he called at my house to try and explain his decision. He called Jamie Adams “a man of integrity”. Do you still believe this Simon?

    Simon’s decision was influenced by MONEY. I also know that he is a prime example of the rats scrambling for the last financial windfalls of this council. Utter disgrace.

  • Jon Boy Jovi

    Scabs. Those are harsh words Martin. Now Arthur Scargill may have something to say on it. If he hasn’t then those involved in the 80s miners’ strikes would have something to say to Lee, Hancock and Perkins. Pembrokeshire politics is best viewed from the bottom of a wine glass. Just ask Mike Merlot. Keep the red flying adds new meaning.

  • Dave Edwards

    If Cllr Simpson believes that Cllr Morgan has lied to him or to the Leader resulting in one of them putting a lie into the public domain, he has a clear duty to report the matter.

  • Tom Tudor

    Just for the record I did vote for this debate to be held in public, however we lost that vote.

    When we actually got down to the vote concerning the package, which I would have voted AGAINST, I was tending to the Vice Chairman Cllr Wynne Evans who had been taken ill outside the chambers, and as a precaution I took him to Withybush Accident and Emergency department. But rest assured I would have voted against this 100%.

  • Welshman 23

    Councillor Tudor, how is Wynne Evans? I appreciate your comments, it’s a good job your vote wasn’t the casting vote. But at least you would have voted against, what about the other 7 that didn’t vote, now that is a different story.

  • Sealight

    As an employee of Pembrokeshire County Council the Head of Paid Service (HPS) is entitled to the protection of our employment laws, as are all Council employees. I am not aware that he has been formally or informally warned of his conduct. I am not aware that he has been found guilty of gross misconduct. Unless I have missed something the only way for us to divest ourselves of this encumbrance is to buy him out; which we appear to have done.

    All this chest beating over the sum of money to be paid to BPJ simply distracts our attention away from the real issue. Why, for the past decade or more, has the ruling party failed to control their HPS? They are responsible for this debacle. They are responsible for this cost to the Pembrokeshire tax payer. They have failed but many of you seem to be blaming BPJ!

    The target is the IPG/IPPG cabal. Don’t allow yourselves to be distracted.

  • Les

    Quite right Sealight. I said previously that the ruling cabal would be very pleased with the current opprobrium being heaped on the CE. It is their fault that all of this has happened. It is they who negotiated the unlawful pension payments and if there was any pride or honour in any of them someone would have resigned by now.

    This is a political issue and not the fault of one paid individual who seems to have a watertight case against the authority.

  • Quill

    Sealight, I don’t know what planet you’ve been living on recently but there most certainly HAVE been strongly publicised allegations about Bryn Parry-Jones’ conduct, for example swearing at two councillors in a fit of rage in an attempt to influence their future vote on a matter in which he had a direct pecuniary interest.

    As for your claim that he has not been ‘found guilty’ of gross misconduct, well perhaps word hasn’t reached your planet yet but until Thursday’s vote there were ongoing disciplinary proceedings against BPJ which had already been referred for an independent investigation. This could have found him guilty, and equally it could have exonerated him.

    It is precisely because of Thursday’s vote that the disciplinary process will not get to run its course, so your veiled suggestion that a pay-off was the only realistic option is completely wrong, it was the decision of the councillors to take the way out which allowed BPJ to avoid facing the music and to have a huge wad of our cash in his back pocket.

    And who said these 29 councillors who voted it through weren’t the target of public ire? It’s pretty clear to me that they are, as well as BPJ for his failures and actions over the years which he will not now be brought to book for. Councillors as well as BPJ are to blame for the state of mistrust and disrespect for our council, as for the big payment, yes, that is ultimately down to the 29 who said ‘yes’ and boy I hope they are harangued for it.

  • Martin Lewis

    Sealight, the other way to divest ourselves of this encumbrance would have been for the investigation into his alleged very serious misconduct to be carried out instead of cut short by this pay off. Quite simple really.

    It seems to me that Bryn Parry-Jones has some sort of hold over Jamie Adams and others, ESPECIALLY John Davies, the ex-Leader who has been mightily quiet in recent months.

  • John Hudson

    I agree, that since they appointed him in 1995, the ruling cabal have followed his advice with out question. One of the questions asked of all candidates for the post was “How will you ensure that your ideas are translated into policies and the policies are implemented?”

    One might be forgiven for thinking his answer was:- well you lot keep out of it, allow me to manage, operate and determine policy direction. All you have to do is draw the allowances and ensure that MY policies and proposals are voted through Council. Thus, the premise that Councillors direct policy and officers ensure compliance was turned on its head from the outset.

    Since 1995, Councils have evolved into Cabinet with scrutiny arrangements. How well have these arrangements been implemented by PCC? There have been numerous reports subsequently produced by independent authorities, not least statutory and non-statutory guidelines issued by Welsh Government suggesting improvements in the light of evolving experience.

    This Council through its officers, supported by the majority of councillors, has a history of having regard to these, then ignoring them until forced to adopt them by mandatory legislation.

    The cry was always the same:- it’s covered by our constitution, there is no reason to change – until they were forced to. So we end up in the position where external audit finds that councillors are not properly informed to the extent that they cannot fulfil their statutory responsibilities and comments that many councillors lack motivation to challenge officers or lack capacity.

    Who is accountable for this. Dim witted, ignorant councillors or the professional officers paid to impartially advice them? (Here one might add that Councillors cannot be expected to know about legislative changes until advised).

    How long has it taken councillors to undertake the urgent review of the council’s constitution to ensure that they are in the position to be able to direct and control the council’s resources. This is still unfinished business under the direction of the Corporate Governance Committee.

    Why have officers not been pushing this review through impartially? Surely it cannot be because they do not want effective scrutiny of their actions, or give more power to a bunch of inadequate councillors who cannot even agree on a constitution which serves and protects the residents from abuses of power.

    The Head of Paid Service is statutorily responsible for: the manner in which the discharge by the authority of their different functions is coordinated, the number and grades of staff required by the authority for the discharge of their functions, the organisation of the authority’s staff, and the appointment and proper management of the authority’s staff.

    There are three officers responsible for ensuring that proposals made by the authority are legal, in consultation with the Head of Paid Service; these are the Chief Financial Officer, the Head of Legal Services and the Monitoring Officer. How many legal challenges and departmental failures do there have to be before the spotlight is turned on their silence? Why has the Council needed recourse to external legal advice?

    I rather fear the root of PCC’s underlying problem is still there both at officer and councillor levels. When we next vote how are we to know what candidates will do post election?

  • Welshman 23

    Sealight, well done for sharing your views. When you go to work on Monday try the following with some of your work colleagues: demand a meeting and rant and rave in front of them. Call a fellow colleague an evil ba****d. I am sure you will be contacted by HR quicker than the seagulls to the tip.

    Also, if you received unlawful payments as part of your pay packet, I think you would be required to pay it back to your employer and would do so. So please let us know on Monday how you get on. There is no question that BPJ did not vote for his pay off, that was obviously down to the councillors.

  • Spartacus

    Christopher Hitchens’ book on the corruption endemic in the Clinton political machine was called “No-one Left to Lie To”. After the purchase of Alison lee this week the equivalent book on the IPPG will be called “No-one Left to Give an SRA To”.

  • There is one SRA left – David Pugh’s economy cabinet post is still vacant.

    Some speculate that Old Grumpy’s being lined up for it. That would be some sweet irony, I’m sure you would agree, Spartacus!

  • Martin Lewis

    Morgan and Edwards for Deputy Leader SRA and Pugh’s SRA for Brian Hall to keep him quiet is my guess.

  • Jacob, you do seem to have some very well-informed moles!

    I noticed that now the two deputy leaders have been dethroned, the Cabinet has been lined up right to left in alphabetical order. The only departure was that Rob Summons and Sue Perkins seemed to have forgotten their ABCs.

    Not that it matters because, either way, I will be sitting between these two. Still, the fifteen grand SRA will help soften the blow, but of course if Jamie makes me his deputy leader I’ll get to sit between him and Huw George. Life’s full of tough choices!

    Martin, the deputy leadership post is filled by a cabinet member and the maximum number of cabinet posts allowed is ten, so with only one vacancy at least two of your three candidates will be disappointed. And, if Jacob’s moles can be relied on, all three will have their noses put out of joint.

  • David Simpson

    Mike Stoddart is correct, either myself or Cllr Peter Morgan is not telling the truth regarding the pressure Cllr Rob Lewis was exerting on Cllr Morgan not to testify to the disciplinary committee investigating alleged wrongdoings by BPJ.

    However we must remember that not only did Cllr Mark Edwards attend the meeting at my home with Cllr Morgan, making him witness to events, but that after my resignation as a Cabinet member the following day, the Pembrokeshire Herald spoke to Cllr Morgan and these were his comments as printed in the Herald on Friday September 26th:

    “David is the straightest and best man on the whole Council. If there was ever anyone you want to talk to about a problem you are having, it is him, everyone on the Council will tell you that about him. PCC can’t afford to do without him. I spoke with David last night and said that Rob Lewis has spoken to me about appearing before the investigatory committee. My position is that pressure won’t work on me. I will do what is right. When I spoke to Jamie Adams last night I told him the same thing.”

    Do these sound like the words of a man not being pressurised? We must also remember that I was not the only councillor that Cllr Morgan confided in, there were others he told whilst in the County Hall coffee room.

    I know who is telling the truth and I can assure you my conscience is clear. As Mike Stoddart has said, let’s hope Cllr Mark Edwards finds his conscience and steps up because Cllr Peter Morgan has completely lost all sense of decency.

  • According to Peter Morgan, David Simpson is both “the straightest and best man on the whole council” while at the same time he is making up a cock and bull story about Cllr Morgan coming to his house in Clunderwen to seek his advice about what to do about the pressure Rob Lewis was exerting on him not to testify to the disciplinary committee investigating alleged wrongdoing by the chief executive.

    This alleged wrongdoing revolved around a meeting between Cllrs Morgan and Edwards and the chief executive in his office, where, according to reports, they were subjected to an “expletive-laden rant” about the way they had voted on a motion calling for the chief executive to repay the pension payments deemed “unlawful” by the Wales Audit Office, so it is clear that Cllr Morgan was a crucially important witness.

    If Cllr Rob Lewis did put pressure on Cllr Morgan that would be an extremely serious corruption of the democratic process. Of course, Cllr Lewis has form in this field – having unlawfully used council computers to run the IPG’s 2012 election campaign.

    People should wake up to the fact this ruling cabal has complete contempt for the rule of law. Where true democrats ask themselves “is this right” before taking action, these banana republicans only enquire “can I get away with it?”

    The answer, if they are interested is: “only so often”, and they are rapidly running out of road.

  • Quill

    Cllr Simpson has been shat on from a great height by Cllr Peter Morgan, who has zero credibility as far as I am concerned. So much for him being a ‘rugby legend’ – I thought sportsmen like him were supposed to have some backbone and grit.

    I can’t begrudge him in the slightest for feeling under pressure from Rob Lewis, it is only natural to want to respect the wishes of your friends/council colleagues, even if you count Rob Lewis as a friend, but when they lean on you, say, in a friendly way to ask you to favours you’d rather not do, that to me is a form of pressure.

    What I do begrudge is that Peter has covered Rob Lewis’s back by denying he put him under any pressure, which, by implication, accuses Cllr Simpson of making up the story – a man he previously counted as the “straightest” bloke on the council. It is also possible that Peter made up the story he told to Cllr Simpson, but why would he do that?

    Peter will have known it was wrong for Rob Lewis to make any attempt to discourage his involvement with the disciplinary hearing, especially given the seriousness of the matter and his key position in the main allegation, and there comes a point where you have to make a stand. He should have cut Cllr Lewis dead during any conversation he tried to start with him about his appearance or testimony at the committee meeting, it was nothing to do with him, Peter and Mark Edwards were the star witnesses, not Rob Lewis.

    I suspect Peter did try to make some sort of a stand in the form of confiding in Cllrs Edwards and Simpson, but then he subsequently denied that Rob Lewis had put him under any pressure when it got out. That is where Peter Morgan lost his credibility – not by succumbing to the pressure, but by denying it took place.

    Rob Lewis probably denies he pressurised Peter but like I said earlier, pressure doesn’t have to mean pulling someone’s fingernails out with a pliers, it could have been something as simple as a joking remark raising the prospect of ramifications, or seemingly off-the-cuff comments which were designed to encourage Cllr Morgan to re-think his approach.

    The silence from Cllr Mark Edwards is deafening. As one of those present at the meeting Cllr Morgan had at Cllr Simpson’s house, he will be able to corroborate Cllr Simpson’s story that, during the meeting, Cllr Morgan told him he he was being pressurised, or he can corroborate Cllr Morgan’s denials. They can’t both be true. Mark, it’s over to you now.

  • Dave Edwards

    Cllr Simpson, it is surely your duty to report this matter officially to the Monitoring Officer and the Chair of the Standards Committee.

  • Malcolm Calver

    This action or non action by Cllr Peter Morgan is very serious for Cllr David Simpson as he has a reputation to uphold as a magistrate. I wonder if whilst being a member of the IPG he ever thought his colleague would let him down in this way.

    This fiasco has been both damaging to the reputation of Cllr Simpson and costly for the taxpayers in Pembrokeshire. It is now time for Cllr Mark Edwards to come forward and support his former colleague Cllr David Simpson in his version of the event.

  • Keanjo

    Politicians will have to learn very quickly that with the advent of webcasting and websites like this one, they can no longer lie their way out of trouble. That is going to cause them a lot of grief for the future.

  • Clive Davies

    Surely the Monitoring Officer has a duty to take the matter forward pro-actively. Can’t they constitutionally be forced to do so? But, and John Hudson’s post above seems to point towards this, to what extent are the council’s problems down to an ineffective and unmotivated Monitoring Officer.

  • Timetraveller

    John Hudson is spot on about key officers running the authority with Bryn whilst the political process has been moribund. The IPPG are too frightened to tackle this as they fear doing so will have severe consequences for the tax payer.

    This is a culture cultivated back in 1996, and permeating down the food chain since. It is a culture based on what one can get away with in the absolute legal sense than to any sense of moral or ethical accountability.

    One of the three is most likely to be the unknown recipient of illegal pension payments (according to the WAO). At one time the Head of Legal was also MO, so it’s unlikely that the present MO is the recipient. The Augean stables still need clearing out.

    Keanjo, it’s inevitable that many politicians lie. They try to please everyone, inevitably end up compromised, and then their difficulties start. The issue is what should happen when caught out? If we removed every councillor who told a little lie, a white lie, or was economical with the truth, there would not be many left. So how do we grade lies? Seems whoppers are common currency at the moment.

  • Les

    Cllr Simpson has gone out of his way to avoid using the word “liar”. In normal society to be referred to as a liar would constitute such a threat to one’s reputation that action would need to be taken. Either deny telling lies or apologise and explain why lies were told. I have a feeling that things will not move on until this matter is cleared up.

  • Welshman 23

    I am not a magistrate but Cllr Simpson has been put into a difficult situation by Cllrs Edwards and Morgan. Someone is telling a lie and I am sure it’s not Cllr Simpson. He must report this incident to the monitoring officer and maybe the police just to protect his reputation as a magistrate. Cllr Simpson, you have to protect yourself. It seems that Morgan and Edwards only care about themselves.

  • John Hudson

    How many pillars of society and upright JPs are councillors? Where do they sit in judgment of their fellow citizens? Can one object to being judged by them?

  • Scorpio

    John Hudson, very good questions.

  • Malcolm Calver

    John,

    Should you happen to be up before a magistrate they will or should remove themselves from the court if you object to them, but I believe it has to be for personal reasons, I do not know if you could or would succeed in removing a magistrate just because in your opinion, due to their past history, you felt they were unfit to hold the office.

    How these people come to be magistrates in the first place amazes me.

  • Sealight

    Quill, all of what you repeat is hearsay or uncompleted actions. Nothing, repeat nothing has been taken to its conclusion so there is no case for disciplinary case against BPJ. Why has nothing been taken to a conclusion? You’ll have to ask the IPG/IPPG about that.

  • Quill

    Sealight, you are making a basic mistake, maybe out of confusion or lack of understanding.

    While an accused person can be presumed innocent until proven guilty, there can still be plenty of evidence to suggest the person has a case to answer, and/or that they committed the allegation. Direct testimony like Cllrs Peter Morgan and Mark Edwards gave, unlike what you claim, is certainly NOT hearsay, it is evidence.

    An example of hearsay would be Morgan and Edwards going before the committee and saying “Cllr Joe Bloggs told us that Bryn Parry-Jones swore at him for the way he voted”.

    As I have already acknowledged, the IPPG councillors are to blame for not allowing the disciplinary to run its course, and from evidence being tested to a conclusion – that is so obviously ‘a given’ that it doesn’t need to be repeated by you or anybody else.

  • Kate Becton

    Thank you Fabian for your kind words – I’m glad to report that my troubles are now behind me – I have moved out of PD Central; though only by about two hundred yards.

    As I have previously posted I had some understanding of Sue’s position, I have none of Cllr. Lee’s, the idea that she would be a replacement for David Simpson is nothing short of preposterous. The people of PD Central, I forecast, will never vote her in again so she had better enjoy her time in the sun.

    I simply cannot understand how grown men and women who are in public life can be put under so much pressure that they will lie, ruin their reputations and sell out the people who voted for them. I have to admit that, during my time at the Council, I was never approached by any member of the IPG to offer me anything!! – I’m extremely proud of that now.

    One of the points in this debate did bring matters home – if it wasn’t for the defectors the IPPG would have gone by now and that really does make their actions reprehensible.

  • Spartacus

    There is more chance of Old Grumpy being asked to replace Manu Tuilagi in the centre for England than replacing David Pugh on the cabinet!!

  • Sealight

    Quill, the evidence is irrelevant until it is used to conclude an investigation. It is the conclusion that is used to justify the subsequent action (dismissal?), not the existence of the evidence alone.

  • Quill

    Sealight,

    In my last comment on this article (you know, the one in which I corrected your misguided understanding of what constitutes evidence and what constitutes hearsay) I also clearly referred to the testing of evidence to a conclusion. So you are just repeating back to me exactly what I told you.

    I also ended my comment by telling you that it didn’t need to be repeated by you or anybody else.

  • Central Resident

    I am not surprised Cllr Lee jumped into bed with the IPPG, I think it has been her agenda since the beginning of 2014 at least, to a share of the trough.

    Disgraceful behaviour. Cllr Paul Miller in his comments about Cllr Lee’s defection inferred that she worked tirelessly for Pembroke Dock central ward residents, just shows how little he knows, since her election Cllr Lee’s focus has been centred on the social ladder, so to speak, despite sitting on numerous committees her attendance has been lacking especially Town Council for which her view is akin to that of Cllr Hall when he was a member, NOT IMPORTANT now I’m a County Councillor.

    If Cllr Lee was not enjoying her association with the Labour Group why didn’t she do the honourable thing and resign and force a by-election. She was not elected as an independent un-affiliated Councillor and has abused and betrayed her electorate, it will not be forgotten next time around. “Judas” comes to mind. Perhaps the Narberth seat would be a better option for 2017.

  • Dave Edwards

    I went to Argos in Pembroke Dock yesterday to buy a new kettle and was surprised to find Alison Lee behind the counter where she works full time I believe. Who was looking after the housing portfolio?

  • Malcolm Calver

    David, I hope you asked her to confirm that it would actually do what the leaflet that came with it promised it would do. Cllr Lee is not the only one that manages to work full time and manage a cabinet position.

    I hear Pastor Huw George spends a great deal of his time at the crematorium. Cllr Roderick Bowen (Plaid Cymru) failed to turn up at the meeting to discuss the compensation package for Bryn Parry-Jones, giving the reason for his absence as work commitments.

    How many other county councillors are in full time employment as well as being paid as county councillors?

  • John Hudson

    I believe the Independent Remuneration Panel sets the rates on the basis that ordinary councillors are part-time jobs, whereas Cabinet posts are meant to be full time jobs, reflecting the heavier workload/commitment, and therefore receive the higher salary rate.

  • Quill

    Has the £332k pay-off been handed over yet or does the WAO have the ability to put the deal on hold until it decides what (if anything) to do about it?

  • Dave Edwards

    The Local Government Act places a requirement on employers to give councillors reasonable time off to attend meetings so I ask again, where was Cllr Bowen last week?

    Cllr Bowen gives as his employer the Ceredigion Association of Volunteer Organisations who work closely with local authorities and know the rules very well.

  • Faux Espoir

    To cajole opinion further I have for a long time admired those prepared to invoke debate on this site for the enhancement of Pembrokeshire. The Leader of the Council, Councillor Jamie Adams has had an unopposed shift as County Councillor for 10 years. In that time since winning election in 2004 he was returned unopposed in 2008 and 2012 and has been a prominent figure as a Cabinet member working closely with the retiring Chief Executive and his senior officers.

    I’ve noted the aforesaid Councillor also controls his own business. Therefore I can conclude that his strength of character and ability will be tested fully over the next 6 months with a change in Cabinet positions, an interim Chief Executive in place and the retirement/defection of senior officers reaching double digits.

    I’ve seen advertised that the Haverfordwest Civic Society are holding a ‘Question Time’ evening on November 21st. It should be one to behold as the invited panel guests are Stephen Crab MP, Paul Miller, Jamie Adams and Mike Stoddart. Que le débat commence et la vérité sera connue!

  • Malcolm Calver

    John, I believe the ordinary bog standard county councillor is supposed to put in twenty two hours per week. If a county councillor is employed full time they then have a 56/57 hour week, surely too great a workload for the average person, especially if they are getting on in life.

    Maybe the solution would be for them to clock in at County Hall. I do not know how the likes of Cllr Hancock, with all his interests, would manage.

  • John Hudson

    Somewhere, I think it was “the most evil ******* in Pembrokeshire” who mentioned that a Council candidate required 10 signatures in order to be able to submit their application to stand as candidates in council elections. There were even difficulties where proposers had signed forms for two candidates at the same election, such as the successful Manorbier candidate where some new signatures had to be obtained at very short notice to validate his application.

    Nomination forms for all candidates must be made available somewhere for public inspection. I wonder if any proposers of the current sixty councillors have felt let down as much, or even more than the rest of us?

  • Malcolm Calver

    John,

    I am aware that the Pembrokeshire Herald carried a front page article regarding the alleged difficulties in obtaining proposers for the successful candidate in the Manorbier ward and the peculiar nature of what seemed to take place.

    As a candidate for the ward I will over the next few months try to seek out the truth in relation to this affair but in the meantime any information that would assist me would be appreciated.

    I have been informed, but I do not know how true it is, that the original form is not available for public inspection.

  • Dave Edwards

    Sorry, Malcolm, but nomination papers are destroyed one year after the declaration of the result.

  • Goldingsboy

    Malcolm, I think the Electoral Commission’s “Local elections in England and Wales: Guidance for candidates and agents (Part 2a)”, which is available online may be helpful. I suggest that you look at paragraph 1.63.

  • Clive Davies

    As a member of Plaid Cymru I would love to hear why Cllr Bowen wasn’t there – he’s not exactly threatened by the capitalist ‘grape’ press. So come on ‘Cllr’ Bowen – why weren’t you there?

  • Malcolm Calver

    David,

    Your comment/information regarding the date for destruction of nomination papers differs from the information/advice given to me by Mr Glynne Morgan, Elections Services Manager at Pembrokeshire County Council who comes I believe under Mr Parry Jones.

    I was made aware of what at this stage we will call “confusion” regarding the nomination papers of Cllr Kidney shortly after the election, by an insider at County Hall. I did at that stage ask Mr Morgan if I could obtain a copy of the nomination papers for Cllr Kidney and I was informed that they could only be disclosed up to and including the day of the election.

    I was interested to find out who had proposed two candidates as the rules clearly advise a candidate to ask the person doing the nomination if they had nominated for anyone else.

    Mr Parry Jones is an experienced elections officer and I would have thought that the discussion regarding him and any potential candidate would be private. The question then is where and how two more proposers could be found at short notice and if Cllr Kidney then personally handed in his nomination papers after the new signatories were found.

    There is also a suggestion that a certain county councillor obtained the signatures on behalf of Cllr Kidney from staff at County Hall. If this is true how did the councillor become aware that new signatures were required and how he found two employees at County Hall who lived in the ward prepared to sign?

    It is time now that the two signatories who I believe are said to be council employees should come forward and clear up the so called “confusion”.

  • Dave Edwards

    Malcolm, nomination papers are openly available until the day before the poll and are kept for a year after as evidence if the election is challenged in court. After that they are destroyed.

    Furthermore, a candidate is not required to hand in his own papers. The returning officer will check the validity of the forms and if it is not valid, reject it. A new form should be needed according to the Electoral Commission Returning Officer’s handbook para 1.40.

  • Malcolm Calver

    David, I have checked my records and I was advised by the elections office that nomination papers were only open up to and including the day before polling day.

    I was then advised to apply under the Freedom of Information Act but was informed by PCC that “nomination papers fall under the personal responsibility of the Returning Officer” and the returning officer is not covered by the Freedom of information Act.

  • Dave Edwards

    True, Malcolm, as I said only a court order would have released them.

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