Strangeway Leaves The Party

At 08.45 on 5 July 2018 I officially left the Independent Party based at County Hall, Beverley as no Independent should ever accept being whipped and no Independent Group can whip an Independent as to do so the Group becomes a Party and the Independent ceases to be Independent.

Yesterday I received a letter from Councillor Barbara Jefferson, “Group” Leader of the Independent “Group”.

The Letter

Dear Cllr Strangeway,

We are very disappointed that you declined to come along to our meeting to discuss letters received from the Chief Executive and the Deputy Leader of the Council.

As I was led to believe, both letters refer to me my legal advisors informed me that I must have sight of both letters in advance of the meeting. This was declined. To date I have still not received copy of either letter.

The group specifically reconvened this meeting to allow you to put forward your views: you were also given the opportunity to choose the date and time for this.

I informed Cllr Jefferson that I needed sight of the letters prior to attendance; no letters – no attendance. I sent my apologies; to decline these is to whip an Independent.

We would like to express serious concerns appertaining to your blog and how this may impact upon the reputation of your fellow Group Members. Our particular concern relates to your negative comments, made in the public domain, about Officers of this Authority, where they have no means of redress. This Group expects that each of its Members shows respect to all employees of this Council.

Cllr Strangeway has no blog. The blog of Andy Strangeway clearly states: “Opinions and statements published on the ‘Andy Strangeway Independent’ blog are those of the owner, Andy Strangeway, private individual, and not those of Councillor Andy Strangeway, elected member of East Riding of Yorkshire Council.” 

As per the Nolan Principles, it is my public duty to be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs. This includes the conduct of ERYC Officers.

The Council’s Constitution lays out the procedure for dealing with complaints against employees of the Council, and we strongly advise you to use this conduit.

The Council’s Constitution is, in effect, a Conservative Party document to prevent opposition. My rights as per Article 10 override the ERYC Constitution.

Many of us have expressed disappointment that you have declined to follow advice and often act precipitously in your public actions.

As an Independent, I do not have to take any advice. I cannot and will not be whipped. My public actions are always thought out and accorded careful consideration.

In the interest of the group unity, we strongly advise you to take note of the above comments and to heed advice from Group Members and bear in mind how your behaviour reflects on others.

My commitment is to Pocklington Provincial residents, the law of the land and the Nolan Principles. The ‘Independent’ Group is now a Party.

We regards this as an internal matter and consider that publication of this letter, or widespread discussion, would reflect badly upon the situation.

I regard it as a matter of public interest. I believe in full transparency and have nothing to hide. This response is published and circulated widely.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Barbara Jefferson

Group Leader

Refuse To Be Whipped

This is clearly an attempt to whip me.  I am accountable to the 13,411 Electors of Pocklington Provincial. I stood to be elected as an Independent, without fear or favour. This means I will never be whipped unlike the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat Councillors who are whipped and must therefore put party before residents and conscience. I now add to that list the Independent Party.

Article 10 – Right To Political Expression

My right to represent the residents of Pocklington Provincial is enshrined in the Human Rights Act as per Article 10. This protects the right to communicate and express myself in any medium, including in words, pictures and actions. This includes political expression.

It is my right to express my views without interference by any public authority, yet ERYC interfere with this right every time they hold a Standards Hearing against me.

Nolan Principles

All public servants must uphold the Nolan Principles – the 7 principles of public life.

  1. Selflessness – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
  2. Integrity – Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
  3. Objectivity – Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
  4. Accountability – Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
  5. Openness – Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
  6. Honesty – Holders of public office should be truthful.
  7. Leadership – Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

As per my elected duty, I will always challenge the poor conduct or performance of ERYC officers wherever it occurs be it the waste of £20,000 or making a legal decision which residents could reasonable believe appeared to be corrupt or incompetent.

True Independent

As it clearly appears that the five other “Independents” – Cllr Jefferson and Cllr Whittle – North Holderness; Cllr Jump and Cllr Mathieson – Cottingham North and Cllr Josie Head – Goole North believe that an Independent “Group” can use a whip, thereby demonstrating that they have little understanding of Article 10 and are failing to uphold the Nolan Principles. It is now clear that I am the only true Independent in the East Riding.

I will always be an Independent who upholds the Nolan principles and my Article 10 rights – and I will always refuse to be whipped.

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