“How deplorable – these UKIP upstarts are even more corrupt than we are” Lib-Lab-Con
by Belinda Ryan
5 April 2014
Cheshire East is reviewing its policy on councillor conduct following what it termed the ‘deplorable’ behaviour of Ukip’s Brian Silvester.
As revealed exclusively by the Chronicle a month ago, Cllr Silvester had been campaigning against development in the green gap while trying to sell his own countryside land for housing.
Emails obtained by the Chronicle and since passed on to Cheshire East and to Ukip, show the Willaston and Rope councillor even used his council email address while trying to set up land deals on a greenfield site he co-owned with his brother in Shavington.
An investigation by Cheshire East Council’s legal team has found that while Cllr Silvester did nothing illegal, there could be a perception of wrongdoing.
The authority is now reviewing its policies in the light of what it referred to as Cllr Silvester’s ‘amoral’ [sic] negotiations to sell his land.
Council leader Michael Jones said this week: “We deplore the behaviour that Cllr Silvester has demonstrated in his role as trusted councillor for the Willaston and Rope ward in Crewe.
“In my opinion, he has misled a trusting public to believe that he is in post to fight for their best interest.”
The furious council leader added: “While using his council email to carry out these amoral [sic]negotiations to sell his land is currently not breaking the law or members’ code of conduct, it has prompted Cheshire East Council to thoroughly review these policies to ensure that this cannot happen again.
“We cannot allow the perception that members can use their political influence and persuasion to profit personally while publicly performing an opposing stance.”
Cheshire East was quick to ask the Chronicle for copies of the emails we had obtained revealing Cllr Silvester’s attempted land deals. These were then passed to the authority’s monitoring officer as part of the investigation.
Cllr Jones said yesterday: “Cheshire East Council is not prepared to spend taxpayers’ money judging this matter further – rather we urge the public to be the ultimate judge and show your disapproval at the ballot box.”
Ukip too requested the emails and has launched its own internal enquiry.
The outcome of that investigation has not been revealed.