Tuesday, 22 August 2017

No action to be taken against David Silvester

NO action is to be taken against a Henley town councillor who blamed flooding and storms on the legislation of gay marriage.

An investigation was carried by South Oxfordshire District Council into comments made by David Silvester in a letter published in the Henley Standard in January.

The 74-year-old councillor, then a member of UKIP, accused David Cameron of acting “arrogantly against the Gospel” and causing the nation to be “beset by serious storms and floods” by passing the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act.

The district council’s monitoring officer has decided to take no further action on 12 complaints made by members of the public.

In a statement, the council said: “She has accepted the investigator’s view that Councillor Silvester was not acting in his official capacity when he wrote his letter to the Henley Standard.

"As such, she considers that this matter falls outside the scope of the council’s standards framework. She therefore has no powers to take any further action in relation to the allegations.

“She has, however, written to Cllr Silvester to warn him that using his honorific title in personal correspondence is not advisable as it lays his reputation and that of the town council open to unnecessary risk.

She will also issue advice along similar lines to district councillors and parish clerks within the district.”

The councillor's comments resulted in a protest outside the town hall and an online petition with more than 25,000 signatures calling for his resignation.

Cllr Silvester, who is married with children and a member of Henley Baptist Church, was suspended from UKIP to whom he had defected from the Conservatives over the same issue in 2013, and was later expelled from the party.

He initially refused to say sorry but at an extraordinary town council meeting in February he apologised for upsetting the gay community, although he still refused to resign.

The town council has no powers to take any disciplinary action.

For the full story next week’s Henley Standard.

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