Is lying an official right?

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19 Oct 2009
At a time when trust in democracy is at an all time low, and our elected officials seem more intent on servicing their own self interests ahead the electorate, it will probably not be surprising to learn that lying has now all but been officially sanctioned by Swale Borough Councils Standards Board as a councillors right.

Recently when the leader of Swale Borough Council informed a packed planning committee hearing that they should ignore the opinions of the objectors as they were not professionally qualified, I felt compelled to make a stand and requested that the matter be investigated.

Firstly as far as I’m aware there is no legal requirement that a person who wishes to speak at a planning committee hearing be professionally qualified or to have to offer proof of this beforehand. Secondly this remark was made in spite of the fact that our evidence had been prepared by a team of professionally qualified people including our Town Planning Consultant and our Transport Consulting Engineers and that this was abundantly obvious to anyone who had viewed the documentation.

Needless to say the council will not be investigating the matter because, in their own words “as the leader of the Council, Councillor Bowles was entitled to advocate on an issue affecting the community”

Now surely if this were true members of the public would not be allotted an opportunity to speak and in fact the whole premise of the committee would be redundant as no one would be in a position to question the verdict of council’s officers, well those who hold the necessary professional qualifications that is.

Andy Hudson
Chairman, Bapchild Parish Council