Dorset councillor makes formal complaint after comment heard during virtual meeting

daryl turnerDORSET councillor Daryl Turner, who represents Lyme Regis and Charmouth, has made a formal complaint over a comment made about him during a break in a meeting last week.

The sound from a short section from the online recording of the virtual full Dorset Council meeting has been removed although several councillors, including Cllr Turner (pictured), have a full version, including the remark.

During a break in proceedings, a male voice is heard to say that Cllr Turner will not be selected as a Conservative councillor again if he votes with an opposition proposal to change from the cabinet to the committee system, currently under discussion.

Earlier in the meeting, the Conservative council leader, Cllr Spencer Flower, had said none of his group members had been ‘whipped’ to vote along party lines.

Despite the comments about de-selection, Cllr Turner did vote with the opposition and has since claimed it was wrong that the comment about his candidacy for the Conservative Party should have been mentioned, putting pressure on him to vote in a certain way.

The edited recording has kept in a short section just before the break where two councillors used a swear word after one of them had asked for the ten-minute break to put his children to bed.

It has been argued that, technically, the break was not part of the council meeting and had no need to remain in the recording.

During the lengthy meeting, Cllr Flower put an amendment to the original Lib Dem motion to not consider adopting a committee or cabinet system until after the 2024 election.

Cllr Turner was the only Tory to vote against the amendment.

Said Cllr Turner: “During the meeting there was various behaviour issues including lots of swearing, obvious and whispered, which was far from acceptable, including during the break.

“At one point someone said ‘Daryl Turner won’t be selected, won’t be selected as a Conservative again’.”

Cllr Turner says he has now made a formal complaint after meeting with the council monitoring officer Jonathan Mair, whose remit includes the conduct of councillors.

“The real issue is the great importance given to the fact there was no whip but the fact you could be de-selected if you voted against party lines… if you have a mind and are willing to use it you get punished. That’s not right,” said Cllr Turner.

By Local Democracy Reporter Trevor Bevins

Woodmead Halls

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