Councillor Kit Owen rapped for his role in Horsefair taxi move row
A COUNCILLOR considering throwing his hat into the ring to become Fenland District Council leader received an official rap on the knuckles for his role in the Horsefair taxi move row. Councillor Kit Owen s chairmanship of the licen
Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
A COUNCILLOR considering throwing his hat into the ring to become Fenland District Council leader received an official rap on the knuckles for his role in the Horsefair taxi move row.
Councillor Kit Owen's chairmanship of the licensing committee to discuss the controversial �75,000 relocation was considered by a sub committee of the council's standards board.
Although the committee rejected claims by taxi drivers' leader David Patrick that Cllr Owen discriminated against committee members "on the grounds of sex and was bullying and intimidating" to them, he has been told to undertake re-training in chairing committees.
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Cllr Owen will now be sent on a "coaching session on procedural issues and chairing meetings" by the first week of January.
The decision was attacked by Cllr Owen who claimed there was "no natural justice, and is in breach of my human rights."
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He said he had conducted meetings satisfactorily for over 30 years and he was angry he could not appeal without an expensive legal battle.
"I was not allowed to give my opinion to the standards committee, and not asked for my point of view," he said. "The sooner the standards board is disbanded, the better".
Cllr Owen is one of seven councillors considering doing battle to succeed Geoff Harper as the �15,000 a year Leader of Fenland District Council following his decision to quit in the light of the email gate scandal. Two Wisbech councillors have been identified as potential candidates, Simon King and Jonathan Farmer.
It is set to be a bruising contest and councillors were warned by MP Malcolm Moss that unless harmony is restored, and quickly, the party could be facing electoral suicide.
"There are now 39 Conservative Councillors on Fenland but they would do well to contemplate why they are where they are!" said the MP for NE Cambs in a letter to the Editor of the Cambs Times/Wisbech Standard.
"Are they so deluded as to believe they would have been elected as 'Independents'? "Of course not; they are councillors because they are on the Conservative ticket.
Favourite to succeed is Councillor Alan Melton and until the email gate scandal broke a friend of Cllr Harper's for more than 20 years.
However their friendship has been tested by this newspaper's exclusive revelation that Cllr Harper went with his deputy, Fred Yeulett, to chief executive Tim Pilsbury to complain about the contents of a 'strictly private and confidential' email that had been circulated by Cllr Melton.
Tory councillors turned on the leadership for leaking confidential correspondence and at last week's group meeting more than 30 of them supported the no confidence vote against Cllr Yeulett.