Here is the text of an email sent this afternoon to the other councillors, the press and the 4 complainants. I need say no more.
I had hoped that I could update you to say that a line could now be drawn under the complaint against me by Messrs Loudon, Sneddon, Hendry and Milne. This was clearly a case of optimism triumphing over reality.
On 22 January I asked the four officers if they would agree to a) sign up to a neutral statement agreeing to the facts and b) refunding me the residual costs I had to incur in fighting the complaint they made. Yesterday they said they would not agree to discussing a) unless I withdrew b). They failed to even indicate if the statement was acceptable. I reproduce that statement below for your information.
You can draw your own conclusions but instead of drawing a line under things, their intransigent position means this will drag on. You will recall they refused 4 offers to end the matter before the hearing and now they won’t do a equitable deal to conclude matters.
They have also continued to say they made the complaint in their own time and therefore it cost the council nothing. I have done my own arithmetic on this based on what I know and, at a conservative estimate, they spent some £25k of council funds on making this complaint. I am basing this on a modest 2 days of time for the corporate management structure as a whole. This, of course, is as open to challenge as their assertion that it cost nothing.
My proposed agreement was as follows, but it now won’t happen I regret to say. You might well ask yourself why.
This is a statement issued on behalf of Cllr Breslin and the 4 officers who submitted the complaint against him, namely Mrs Sally Loudon (now of Cosla), Mr Sneddon, Mrs Milne and Mr Hendry.
THIS JOINT STATEMENT:
1 REPLACES the statement read out by Mr Sneddon on behalf of the 4 complainants at the council meeting on 24 November 2016, and issued in writing some days later.
2 REPLACES the counter statement issued by Cllr Breslin on 12 December 2016.
3 ACCEPTS in full the written judgement issued by the Standards Commissioners dated 26 December 2016 relative to complaint reference LA/AB/1758.
4 ACCEPTS that of the 15 elements to complaint LA/AB/1758, 14 elements were deemed not to be a breach due to the protection afforded elected councillors (and others) under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
5 ACCEPTS the one finding of breach of the code of conduct for enabling an email to get into the public domain, relative to complaint LA/AB/1758.
6 ACCEPTS in full the decision of the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life dated 26 February 2016 to the effect that Cllr Breslin had not breached the code of conduct relative to complaint LA/AB/1663 made by Cllrs Walsh, E Morton and Scoullar.
7 AGREES that this new statement on behalf of all five individuals brings this unhappy and prolonged matter to an end.
8 CONFIRMS there will be no further public statements on the complaint by any of the five individuals involved.