“Silly woman” appeal committee to be held in Milton Keynes next week

A decision to clear a Milton Keynes councillor of being disrepectful when he used the phrase “silly woman” to a fellow committee member will be the subject of an appeal hearing.

Cllr Andy Dransfield (Indpendent) told Labour councillor Zoe Nolan to “get a sense of humour, you silly woman” during a meeting of Loughton and Great Holm parish council in November 2017.

Cllr Andy Dransfield

Cllr Andy Dransfield

The matter was the subject of a meeting of Milton Keynes Council’s standards sub-committee on November 16, 2018. The committee had decided that Cllr Dransfield had not breached the council’s code of conduct.

Now the council has received a complaint that the Standards Committee has made an error and should correct it.

Complainant, Peter Todd has appealed on the basis that given that the subcommittee found he did say ‘silly woman’ then they need to then find it is a breach.

He says the sub-committee went against the view of an independent advisor and investigator in finding that there was no breach. He says the benchmark is “respect” not ‘seriously or substantially’ disrespectful’.

The Standards Sub-Committee, meeting on Tuesday, February 12, will be considering whether the phrase ‘silly woman’ should amount to a breach of the code of conduct.

It will then be up to the members to decide whether to allow the appeal and consider further sanctions against Cllr Dransfield, who has been punished by the committee after he told a female police officer that she ‘looked young enough to be at school’, at the same parish council meeting.

Cllr Dransield was censured and ordered to attend ‘mediation training’, as well as apologising to the police constable.

Committee members have been told that the subject of the appeal will be confined to the narrow point on whether the words used by Councillor Dransfield, ‘Get a sense of humour’ ‘Silly woman’ would constitute a breach of the code of conduct.