An 8 months full investigation by the Standards Board for England has found Deputy Labour Leader Cllr. Harris guilty of breaching the Council’s Code of Conduct by accusing Liberal Democrat members of being racist.
The Board has found that the public statement Cllr. Harris made at a July 2007 Council meeting did contravene the Code of Conduct. The full report was severely critical of Cllr. Harris’ behaviour but the Board’s rules prevent publication of the report or any extract from it. In spite of being given several opportunities Cllr. Harris has never offered any apology for his behaviour.
“There is but small satisfaction in the guilty verdict when he refuses to acknowledge that his behaviour was unacceptable or to apologise for it,” says Liberal Democrat leader David Franks.
“Councillor Harris’ language was disgusting. Liberal Democrat councillors were treated to just about the most grave insult and slander you could throw at anybody. Similar language from a Council officer would have resulted in a dismissal for gross misconduct.”
“Seriously offensive behaviour by a small number of members has caused concern for independent members of the Council’s Standards Committee, for senior officers and most members of all parties for some time. Most Councillors want a sensible and adult conduct of business, for all members to work together in the best interests of Luton. But this can only happen if those guilty of seriously offensive behaviour acknowledge their error and show a sincere desire to make it happen.”
“It is very hard to develop a sensible working relationship with someone who calls you racist.”