Posted by: westlancashirerecord | November 20, 2016

The Meaning Of A Moral Compass?

Our West Lancashire Councillor Adrian Owens adrianow has blogged today about Cllr Paul Moon. He writes “When the news broke in late October that a West Lancashire councillor, Paul Moon was sitting as a Borough Councillor not just for Hesketh Bank in our Borough but on Wyre council as well, the reaction of the people I spoke to was one of incredulity. How could he have the brass neck to do such a thing?

“This was compounded when, in the email correspondence I had with him, Cllr Moon admitted that he had not bothered to tell the voters of Hesketh Bank that he already served as a councillor elsewhere. It was not a requirement of the election process, he curtly informed me. No wonder ward residents of Cllr Moon told me that they felt deceived by his actions.

“He also had a failing memory as he told me that he had only missed council meetings due to holiday. A quick check I made of the public records of meetings at both Wyre and West Lancashire councils showed that instead he had missed meetings at both councils because he was at the same time attending a council meeting at the other council because of diary clashes – almost inevitable when “double jobbing” as he does.

“Imagine my surprise then to receive this reply from one of Cllr Moon’s West Lancashire Conservative councillor colleagues after I had written to a fair number of them about Cllr Moon. This Conservative councillor said “I really do not have a problem with Paul having two Councillor roles, he is retired, young enough to have the enthusiasm to hold an interest in both. He has a good moral compass moral-compass, and would resign if it seemed to cause either him or us a problem, he is well liked and respected in both Councils. Unlike other Councillors that have a full time salaried job, and then think they can give a County Council role, with Meetings during the day a full commitment.”

Read that again…this Conservative councillor doesn’t have a problem, he knows Moon has a “good moral compass” and “a full commitment”. This Conservative councillor must mean half a commitment in Wyre plus half a commitment in West Lancashire equals a full commitment. And not one word of sympathy for the electorate of Hesketh Bank who voted for full representation? Is this the same moral compass that was in use in May 2014 when two members of the Tory group were unwilling to accept the democratic decision of their colleagues in the group and did not support the Conservative whip during the vote to elect the Leader of the Council?

Cllr Owens goes on “Other Conservative councillor colleagues replied stating that Cllr Moon has the support of the West Lancashire Conservative group. What does moral compass mean? To most local residents I would suggest it means having a councillor who was not elected under a false prospectus, who can fulfil the full meaning of the oath of office, whose memory about absence from meetings and the reasons is not so erroneous as Cllr Moon’s and whose motivation is putting the interests of residents first and foremost rather than any pecuniary motive.

“The moral compass of the West Lancashire Conservative group has failed to point to magnetic north since at least 2014 and they have headed into the wilderness as a result. The difference in reaction to Cllr Moon’s actions from the general public compared to that from the councillor class is indicative of a severe sickness in local politics”.

“Local Government Act 1989 – Sect 63 Oath of office and Councillor Code of Conduct . S. 63(1) amended by Nos 67/2008 s. 29, 69/2009 s. 54(Sch. Pt 2 item 31), substituted by No. 53/2015 s. 4(2). (1) A person elected to be a Councillor is not capable of acting as a Councillor until the person has (a) taken the oath of office specified in subsection (1A); and (b) read the Councillor Code of Conduct and, in accordance with subsection (3), made a declaration stating that they will abide by the Councillor Code of Conduct.

“S. 63(1A) inserted by No.53/2015s 4(2). (1A) The following oath of office is to be taken by a Councillor in accordance with Division 2 of Part IV of the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958 “I will undertake the duties of the office of Councillor in the best interests of the people in the municipal district of and faithfully and impartially carry out the functions, powers, authorities and discretions vested in me under the Local Government Act 1989 or any other Act to the best of my skill and judgment.” (2) The oath of office must be (a) made before the Chief Executive Officer; and (b) dated and signed before the Chief Executive Officer; and (c) recorded in the minutes of the Council”.

How presumptuous of that Tory to state “he is well liked and respected in both Councils”. Has he thought of putting that to the test by resigning and writing an “Intouch” and asking the electorate to re-elect him?

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