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The now Deputy Leader of Rochford District Council, Mrs Cheryl Roe, has issued an apology to our Lib Dem candidate and well respected member of the community, Ian Oakley, over unfounded comments that she made. The comments were made “During her speech following re-election, Cllr Mrs Roe commented on personal attacks on social media during the election campaign”
These alleged comments however, have subsequently been found to be unfounded and lacked any evidence. Subsequently our team made a formal complaint against Cllr Mrs Cheryl Roe over her conduct.
An investigation by the council and an independent person has concluded that
Mr Oakley did not post any social media messages attacking Cllr Mrs Roe. In addition, Cllr Mrs Roe confirmed that she was not aware of any personal comments or abuse posted by Mr Oakley about her on social media.
Cllr Mrs Roe did not name the complainant during her speech. The speech was made with no malice and it was a result of a highly emotive and difficult election campaign. However, the speech and body language of Cllr Roe could be construed to be a reference to Mr Oakley.
To the casual observer the comments and gestures made by Cllr Roe could be construed to be a reference to the complainant.
There is no evidence to show that Mr Oakley has been personally disadvantaged or suffered any reputational damage.
Despite the public nature of the comments made by Cllr Cheryl Roe, the council has concluded that Cllr Roe has to issue an informal apology in private.
A copy of the full adjudication can be found here