Attleborough Town Council issues full apology to Taila Taylor and Edward Tyrer after 'malicious campaign' to remove them from their positions
A town council has apologised after making bullying allegations against two of its councillors, conceding that the claims were “false and wrong” and part of a “malicious campaign” to remove them from their positions.
In February last year, Attleborough Town Council (ATC) - which was then headed by former mayor Tony Crouch - passed a motion to forcibly remove Councillors Taila Taylor and Edward Tyrer from their committee duties following allegations of “harassment, bullying and intimidation” were made against them.
The decision caused outcry amongst residents in Attleborough, with police having to intervene during a council meeting where around 50 protesters stormed the town hall demanding Mr Crouch’s resignation.
In July, the pair were reinstated to their roles, as part of a pledge by the new mayor, Philip Leslie, to unify the fractured council.
Now, 15 months after they were initially removed from their roles, ATC have released a full apology to the two councillors.
In their apology, the council admitted to “procedural impropriety and complete disregard to the due process required for investigating the allegations.”
The council have agreed to pay the legal costs of both councillors, and compensate for the damage to their reputations.
The full statement read: “The Attleborough Town Council (“the Council”) offers a profound and unreserved apology to both Cllr Taila Taylor and Cllr Edward Tyrer for the publishment of defamatory statements concerning false allegations of both Councillors sustaining a ‘campaign of harassment, bullying and intimidation’ on fellow Councillors, Staff and Employees of Attleborough Town Council.
“We accept that all such allegations were false and wrong.
“The false accusations were made in the context of a malicious campaign to remove Cllr Taylor and Cllr Tyrer from several Committees and Working Groups of the Council.
“Indeed, on 27 February 2020 members of the Council passed an unlawful motion to remove both Cllrs from their positions held within the Council and prevent both Cllrs from being appointed as Vice Chairman or Mayor for a period of two years.
“This motion was passed following several Code of Conduct complaints made to the Monitoring Officer at Breckland Council and the issue of a formal letter of grievance to Attleborough Town Council written by Miles Hubbard, a Unite the Union Regional Officer.
“We would like to make it clear that the Monitoring Officer at Breckland Council has decided not to investigate these complaints, and the statements made by Miles Hubbard of Unite are not based on the belief of the Council and the Council has found no evidence to suggest these statements were true. In fact, all such statements were false and wrong.
“Following, the issue and success of Judicial Review proceedings by Cllr Taylor, both Cllrs have been vindicated of all allegations relating to ‘harassment, bullying and intimidation’ and had all their previous positions held within the Council reinstated.
“The Council admits to the procedural impropriety and complete disregard to the due process required for investigating the allegations concerning the Cllrs and the passing of the motion on 27 February 2020.
“Furthermore, several defamatory statements were made by the former Attleborough Town Mayor and current Cllr Anthony Crouch. Statements made by the former Mayor compared the ‘alleged’ behaviour of Cllr Taylor and Cllr Tyrer to the behaviour that caused the sad death of a high profile celebrity in 2020.
“The Council would like to make it clear that both Cllr Taylor and Cllr Tyrer have never been found to have harassed, bullied, or intimidated fellow Councillors, Staff and Employees of the Council and the Council sincerely apologises for the hurt, suffering and stress that has been caused to both Cllrs.
“The Council, as way of accepting liability for publicly publishing the false allegations, have agreed to pay the legal costs that have been accumulated by Cllr Taylor and Cllr Tyrer and pay damages in an aim to compensate for the damage that has been caused to the Cllrs’ reputation and good name, and the distress suffered.
“We would like to thank both Cllrs for their resilience throughout this period and for the diligent work they have displayed throughout the local community. We hope this apology can be the first step to rebuilding a strong and successful relationship between the Council and both Cllrs.”