Forest of Dean councillor cleared of making V sign

By Carmelo Garcia in Politics

A COUNCILLOR accused of mouthing ‘f-off’ and making the V sign has been cleared by the council’s disciplinary watchdog.

Councillor Andrew Gardiner (Ind, Lydbrook & Ruardean) appeared before the Forest of Dean District Council’s standards committee last week following a complaint about his conduct at a full council meeting in April.

Cllrs Bernie O’Neil, Richard Boyles (Con, Newnham & Westbury) and resident Roger Holmes had complained about Cllr Gardiner’s conduct during the full council meeting on April 20 in which they said he made the V sign and mouthed ‘f-off’ to another councillor.

A recording of the meeting was shown to the members which clearly showed Cllr Gardiner making a gesture, but councillors found that the evidence was inconclusive.

Cllr Sid Phelps (Green, Lydbrook & Ruardean) who was sat next to Cllr Gardiner at the meeting said he saw him do the V sign and mouth the expletives but he said he also remembered him getting harangued unfairly.

Cllr Dave East (Ind, Blaisdon & Longhope) said it was clear Cllr Gardiner made the V sign but added he almost felt sorry for the way he is treated at meetings.

Standards chairman Lynn Sterry (Lab, Cinderford West) said it was definitely said and done.

She said she could hear the expletives while listening to the evidence before the meeting

Cllr Gardiner said he was the victim of a ‘vindictive witch hunt’ and urged the committee to ‘kick this sort of behaviour into the long grass once and for all’.

He said: “I don’t use the f-word. There isn’t any evidence on the screen or the microphone, I am completely innocent.”

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