St Neots councillor cleared of misconduct following alleged Mugabe comments

Steve van de Kerkhove

Steve van de Kerkhove - Credit: Archant

A COUNCILLOR accused of likening St Neots Town Council to Nazi Germany has been exonerated of any misconduct.

Cambridgeshire county and Huntingdonshire district councillor Steve Van de Kerkhove was alleged to have made the comments at a town council meeting on July 25.

He was responding to the town council’s planned amendments to standing order number 15, in which the council intends to amplify an existing rule stipulating that councillors do not have the automatic right to obtain confidential information, vote or participate in private sections of meetings for which they are not committee members.

Cllr Van De Kerkhove stressed that he did not use the word Nazi and, in addition, had only referred to the proposed amendment and not the council, members or officers.

HDC’s standards board concluded that as the councillor’s comments were made from the public gallery, the code of conduct was not applicable.

Cllr Van De Kerkhove said: “I am glad that I have been vindicated, but I’m more pleased that ratepayers’ money isn’t going to be wasted on vexatious and inaccurate reports to the standards board.”

He now intends to ask for an apology and request that the council’s draft minutes are altered to accurately represent what he said at the meeting.