The Chair asked him if he had any other questions?
Denis Knowles said he had no questions as the report was mostly clear and accurate, he was happy to accept its findings apart from the minor issue.
The Chair said that was gracious. He pointed out that the Code of Conduct covered blogging, but he was not going to discuss potential remedies or people’s private capacity as there was a dividing line there.
Denis Knowles said he was grateful. The Chair thanked Denis Knowles. He asked Cllr Les Rowlands if he had any questions. Cllr Les Rowlands said no. He asked Stella Elliott if she had any questions. Stella Elliott said no. He asked Cllr Bill Davies if he had any questions. Cllr Bill Davies said no.
The Chair asked Denis Knowles if he had any other representations he wished to make?
Denis Knowles said “no, not really”, he said he had made an error of judgement and posted an apology and referred himself to the Standards Committee. He said he was horrified to think that he could cause offence and that it would bring the Council into disrepute, which was what he feared most. He had mixed with the people who were offended and he could see their views, he had even made some very good friends with people he would not normally associate with. It had been a political off the cuff jibe which was apparently offensive. Since it had happened he had received supportive emails which outweighed the people who had been offended. If he had offended one person it was bad enough. He had jumped the gun and done the right thing.
The Chair mentioned that Denis Knowles had been on diversity training and a course, he was willingly contrite and he felt he had learnt. He said his actions may or may not be different next time.
Denis Knowles said he had learnt by his mistake, which was not always easy. He had been suspended by the Conservative Party straight away, which was a political act, this had to led to him being “taken away”. He had learnt a huge lesson and hopefully would stand as a candidate for councillor again. If people never made mistakes they would be God-like. He was humble enough to accept and learn thing. The day people knew everything they would be in heaven.
Cllr Patricia Williams asked Denis Knowles what he hoped the outcome would be?
Denis Knowles said he hoped they realised he accepts the guilt and would accept any advice over his future conduct. It had been over his head for nearly two years and was a “black cloud” for so long. It was stressful for him but he had his head held high. He looked forward to the judgement and expected to be set on the right path.
At this point the Standards Review Panel asked Denis Knowles, Rosemary Lyon and the public to leave, but return when they had made a decision.