In ERYC Director Misleads Cabinet and Public I explain the actions of Nigel Leighton. Yesterday Mathew Buckley, Head of Legal and Democratic Services replied by intimating libel action against me may result.
My Reply To Mathew
From: Andy Strangeway
Sent: Thursday, December 3, 2015 9:13 PM
Subject: Nigel Leighton
Thank you for your email.
May I say that you have approached your task with a woefully inadequate briefing as to the nature and timing of the publications and correspondence?
I hope that you will readjust your position when you enjoy a proper grasp. Please refer to all my correspondence with ERYC on this topic, and all of my publications on this topic.
Firstly, let me re-state my formal complaint:
“As Nigel Leighton has clearly misled the Cabinet and the public, by his false unsubstantiated statement that there are no equality implications , I would like to register a formal complaint against Nigel.
In addition , actions must not be undertaken as a result of the consultation without an EIA being carried out.”
Henceforth, I shall number my paragraphs for our mutual convenience of reference.
1) As you correctly identify, I do indeed have the right to change my mind. On doing so, I properly informed my readership and ERYC. https://andystrangeway.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/eryc-breach-taxi-rank-legislation/
By referring to my original and, with the benefit of hindsight, inadequately informed position, whilst dismissing my revised position whilst under-informed yourself with the pejorative term “hyperbolic”, you have told me a great deal about the man who has been delegated to treat with me.
2) The impact on disabled people occasioned by the removal of the only taxi-rank in the town centre is self-evident. It is presently compounded by the fact that the existing rank is frequently occupied by one or more vehicles other than taxis, and even if there is one last remaining space, if it is beside the pillar-box it is of no avail to taxis of the side-loading wheelchair-carrying variety and (more importantly) any wheelchair-bound passenger wishing to disembark).
I cannot imagine that you would seriously suggest that this circumstance does not have an impact on disabled people. I would be happy to introduce you to a number of disabled people who will be happy to aver to the impact they discern it will have on them.
3) It follows, therefore, that my opinion that, when Nigel LEIGHTON signed off his report to cabinet (asserting that there were no EA ramifications attendant upon the removal of the taxi-rank) that information was false; clearly, there are manifest and manifold ramifications. My opinion, therefore, was and is properly grounded in fact.
4) You go on to explain the process by which Nigel Leighton first reported cabinet seeking authorisation to conduct a consultation. It is and will remain unknown whether or not the Cabinet would have voted to authorise the conducting of a consultation had the members been aware that the removal of the taxi-rank had EA ramifications (which Nigel Leighton led them to believe it had not). But there clearly exists a possibility – in my view amounting to an overwhelming probability – that the Cabinet would not have authorised the consultation had members been aware that the removal of the taxi-rank would have such a profound impact on disabled taxi-users in Pocklington – for who would wish to accuse Cabinet members of being utterly insensitive to the needs of disabled people?
Thus, my assertion that the Cabinet was misled by Nigel Leighton’s assertion that there were no EA implications stands.
5) To suggest (as you do) that:
“there are no equality implications at this stage in the process”
is a nonsense; to initiate any process without regard to the EA implications is contrary to statute. To do so not merely omitting mention of the profound EA implications would be incompetence, but to assert in writing, quite falsely, that there are no EA implications could only result in the members of the Cabinet being misled – about the purpose, aims and consequences of the requested authorisation to consult on a proposal that, without reference to the EA implications, could never lawfully be progressed
6) You state:
“To accuse an officer of an authority of misleading Members and the public is a very serious allegation and one that should not be made lightly.”
This is indeed the case; however, my grounds for making my formal complaint remain irrefutable.
7) You assert that:
“Such allegations could form the basis for an action in libel to be taken against an individual who makes them.”
I profoundly disagree. In any case, should it be Nigel Leighton’s wish to bring a libel action against me, please encourage him to inform me of that; I will be happy to provide my address for service.
8) You will need to make Nigel Leighton aware that any such action will not be funded by the public purse; rather, he will have to look to his own pocket. (Derby CC v Times Newspapers Ltd.).
9) I note, for the record, that your email is not a valid letter before action; it does not comply with the CPR.
10) I note that you have not provided me, as required, with a copy of the Council’s Complaints Procedure. Please do so.
11) Please adhere to the preceding numbering of paragraphs in any future correspondence.
12) Please progress my formal complaint in accordance with the council’s constitution and ratified protocols.
I reserve the right to publish my correspondence with the Council, in whole or in part, into the public domain, as I see fit.
I look forward to hearing from you.