LETTER: No intention of signing Charter

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Obviously I cannot speak for Cllr Ray Dawe, our council leader, but, as one of the councillors who has the honour of representing Billingshurst and Shipley on Horsham District Council, I thought I had better inform P. Rands of Billingshurst, and anyone else who may be interested, that I have no intention of signing the West Sussex County Times Free Speech Charter.

Nobody who knows me could ever imagine I have any problem with free speech (especially my husband!) but I feel my commitment and loyalty is to my constituents - and not to the WSCT.

It is also strictly against the 7 Nolan Principles, the cross-party guidelines for people in public office. Principle 2 is entitled Integrity. It states ‘Holders of pubic office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work’.

There is more... but I think that first sentence says it all.

I would also like to inform P. Rands that the Conservative Party on Horsham District Council does NOT have a Whip.

In my opinion this is a great shame - it may have prevented some of the absolute rubbish about Whips, kangaroo courts and secret meetings which have been printed in the WSCT over the past 18 months.

KATE ROWBOTTOM

(Con) Horsham district councillor for Billingshurst and Shipley Ward, North Street, Horsham