Statement on James Giles

I am publishing this statement in a personal capacity.

I am a Father first and politician second. This past weekend my son was used as a political tool to attack me on social media and I reacted in a way that any Father would, I defended my son's right to privacy. In doing that I let my passion get the better of me and I attacked the author. 

I did not refuse to answer the question James Giles put to the recent public meeting. James asked it, but the Chairman of the meeting ruled it as not appropriate to the matter being discussed. James chose to use Twitter to ask his question when he could have privately emailed me for an answer right from the beginning. Because of this, others have used his question as a platform for inferring corruption where there is none. I have been scrupulous in making declarations of interest should they arise.

Despite all that, what I need to acknowledge is that James is also someone's son, and I should not have risen to this attack. For that I apologise.

Returning to the question James asked. There is never a conflict of interest that prevents a Councillor being a Councillor. Were I ever to sit on a committee which was taking a decision about any matter pertaining to a company for which a relative of mine worked I would, of course, declare that interest. If it was a financial interest or there was the appearance of bias, I would withdraw from the meeting. If there was no financial interest and no appearance of bias, I could stay and vote.