'Naughty' councillor says sorry

FORMER borough leader Dale Jackson today apologised after admitting writing two “humorous” letters to the 15-year-old daughter of a fellow councillor.Mr Jackson, who was leader of the borough until he resigned in April this year, issued the apology at the start of a hearing into his conduct by the Adjudication Panel for England which is sitting at the town's Belstead Brook Hotel.

FORMER borough leader Dale Jackson today apologised after admitting writing two “humorous” letters to the 15-year-old daughter of a fellow councillor.

Mr Jackson, who was leader of the borough until he resigned in April this year, issued the apology at the start of a hearing into his conduct by the Adjudication Panel for England which is sitting at the town's Belstead Brook Hotel.

The controversial Conservative councillor is accused of breaching the borough's code of conduct and bringing his office into disrepute by sending the two letters to Natalie Barker, the daughter of Tory councillor Stephen Barker in 2002.

The first letter thanked Natalie for the help she had given during the election campaign, but finished with a PS saying, “How are the hooker boots?”


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Mr Jackson said this was a reference to Natalie having broken her boots when he was a visitor to the house and her brother referring to them as hooker boots after the film Pretty Woman.

The second letter was written on councillor notepaper, but claimed to come from borough Chief Executive James Hehir.

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It claimed that the “International Standards Board” - an assistant body - would be investigating Conservative councillors, with a panel made up of three leading Labour councillors and Mr Hehir.

Mr Hehir was told about these letters by Mr Barker earlier this year and referred them straight away to the Standards Board for England.

Today's hearing will decide whether Mr Jackson brought his office into disrepute and if it decides that he did, what action to take against him.

He could be suspended as a councillor or be reprimanded.

Mr Jackson told the panel: “I know I have been a naughty boy and I have been silly, but I don't think it means that the voters fo Castle Hill cannot or will not trust me.”

The hearing was continuing today.

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