The Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council Cllr Adam Paynter has been suspended by the Liberal Democrats. However the Independent group, who jointly form the Administration that runs Cornwall Council along with the Liberal Democrats have voted, by a majority, to adopt the disgraced councillor into their ranks.
The Conservative group have condemned the move as breach of a penalty intended to send out a message that fellow councillors should be treated with respect, and have asked questions of the Administration.
Conservative Councillor Olly Monk (Newquay Treloggan) said:
“It’s clear that this whole episode makes the role of Cllr Adam Paynter embarrassingly untenable. He has brought the whole of Cornwall Council into disrepute and his refusal to show any meaningful contrition reflects badly on this current administration."
“The way Cllr Dulcie Tudor has been treated by this man, other councillors within her former group and even some of the officers at Cornwall Council is against the values that we have worked hard to implement across Cornwall Council.
“The Liberal Democrat party at a national level have expelled him. How can he stay in post that he was only ever given as a senior Liberal Democrat? It makes a mockery of the values of equality and diversity that he obviously merely paid lip service to."
“The least we could expect from the Lib Dems is a genuine and contrite apology to Cllr Tudor who has been badly treated."
“I also want an explanation from the Leader Julian German whose decision not to sack Cllr Paynter is condoning behaviour that isn't acceptable to the national Liberal Democrats. The leader needs to step up and show some leadership. How on earth can it be acceptable to accept someone into a political group when amongst other findings the Lib Dems had found that Paynter” had treated a junior colleague poorly because it had seemed expedient”.”
Cllr Linda Taylor (Conservative group leader) said:
“For all women entering into politics we need to ensure a safe and respectful environment. The expulsion of Adam Paynter from the Lib Dems due to his behaviour should have sent a very clear message to Cornwall Council. It was clearly taken seriously by the national party but the local Lib Dems have manoeuvred to try and ignore it.
“Unfortunately the message does not seem to have gotten through to the Independent Group within Cornwall Council, who have accepted him into their Group just a day after his expulsion from his political party. What message does that send to the residents of Cornwall? Are they condoning his behaviour?
“I call upon Adam Paynter to step down as Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council. His own party acknowledged his dreadful behaviour and he now needs to accept that ruling and do the right thing. If he does not then Councillor German must act to ensure that standards in Cornwall Council are seen to be important.”