Murphy hearing hears of email
A hearing into the roll of former county council leader Derrick Murphy in a damaging email about West Norfolk Council to a radio host has opened today.
Members of the Norfolk County Council standards committee agreed for the session to be held in public at County Hall this morning. Following that decision, the full report of independent investigator Jenni Richards QC was disclosed.
In the 40-page document she concluded that Mr Murphy had been in breach of the council’s code of conduct by telling former Tory political assistant Kevin Vaughan to state that an email he had sent to BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad has been requested by members of both the county and borough councils - the so-called Twin Hatters.
She also found that Mr Murphy had breached the code by attempting to mislead council chief executive David White over his role in the affair during an internal inquiry.
However, in his evidence to the committee Mr Vaughan said the origins of the email had been both the pressure placed on Twin Hatters over issues relating to the incinerator proposal and the anger of current acting leader Bill Borrett that he would not be able to appear live on Mr Conrad’s programme in which borough council leader Nick Daubney was interviewed.
He said the pressure being placed on Twin Hatters had been “interfering with their roles as county councillors” and insisted there was a distinction between whose idea it was to send the email and the view that something should be done to make alternative information public.
The report also reveals that Mr Murphy’s legal team wanted the transcript of a conversation with Mr White, which was recored without the leader’s knowledge, to be ruled inadmissable. But Miss Richards rejected the claim in her report arguing that it was a matter for her to decide how much weight should be given to the tape.
The hearing continues.
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Weather for King's Lynn
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 14 C
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Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
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