Cllr Clapp invited by standards watchdog to explain and apologise for comments at parish meeting - Cllr Clark and Cllr Butcher ‘given advice’ about declaration of interests

Cllr Paul Clapp. A county council conduct watchdog called for an explanation and apology after comme

Cllr Paul Clapp. A county council conduct watchdog called for an explanation and apology after comments he made at a parish council meeting. - Credit: Archant

A county council ethics watchdog concluded that UKIP councillor Paul Clapp should provide “an explanation of his view points/actions together with an apology” for his comments at a parish council meeting.

Cllr Ralph Butcher who has been 'reminded of the procedures' for declaring interests at council meet

Cllr Ralph Butcher who has been 'reminded of the procedures' for declaring interests at council meetings. PHOTO: Supplied - Credit: Archant

In a report to the council’s constitution and ethics .committee, monitoring officer Quentin Baker said that Jennifer Snow had alleged that Cllr Clapp had been “rude and insulting” at a meeting of Walsoken parish council last July.

The report says that Cllr Clapp had stood up at the meeting and complained that “no one informed me” about plans for a travellers’ site at Wheatley Bank; Mr Baker noted Walsoken was in Norfolk and not within “the jurisdiction” of the councillor.

“The complainant further alleges that the member was inciting the rest of the public by his behaviour,” said Mr Baker.

Another complainant, he noted, was Andy Houghton, who said that at the same meeting Cllr Clapp “then took it upon himself to shout, loudly and aggressively ‘you’re not doing you jobs’ whilst stabbing his finger in the general direction of the parish council.

Cllr John Clark, offered advice by the county council conduct watchdog on declarations of interest.

Cllr John Clark, offered advice by the county council conduct watchdog on declarations of interest. PHOTO: Steve Williams - Credit: Archant


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“He continued this inflammatory tone for a short time. The complainant also alleges that the subject member’s contribution was a bullying and bullish tirade”.

Mr Baker said the complaint was considered by the independent member of the committee, Gill Holmes, who felt that Cllr Clapp “should have been more circumspect in his comments.

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“The independent person has, however, concluded that any potential breach is of a relatively low level and that that the matter could be appropriately dealt with by way of local resolution”.

The committee also dealt with other complaints, including a complaint by Councillor Alan Lay that Councillor John Clark, a county councillor and leader of Fenland District Council, had failed to declare an interest relating to a contract with a community transport operator.

Cllr Lay alleged that at a meeting of the economy and transport committee last May Cllr Clark failed to declare his “business relationship with the Fenland Association of Community Transport (FACT)”.

The committee was told that the independent member had concluded that there was no disclosable pecuniary interest but there may be a non statutory disclosable interest that was declared in accordance with the code of conduct.

“The independent person did nevertheless recommend Cllr Clark is given advice regarding interests,” said Mr Baker.

“He is advised to fully consider his position when dealing with matters relating to FACT in the future.”

A similar conclusion was reached in respect of a similar complaint against Councillor Ralph Butcher who it was also recommended should be advised to ensure FACT relationships are declared.

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