Suspended councillor won’t defend seat

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A LOCAL councillor suspended from her group over allegations of inappropriate conduct towards a colleague has announced she will not be standing as a candidate in next year’s council elections.

Dunbar councillor Jacquie Bell was suspended from the Lib Dem group on East Lothian Council last week for a “breach of party ethics”.

It is understood the decision related to comments about a fellow councillor made in a series of emails.

However, Cllr Bell – who is looking into the possibility of appealing the decision – insisted she had sent a written apology to the councillor concerned, which has been ignored.

“Since June I have sent him a total of four emails requesting specific information concerning issues of relevance to the council and to my council ward, all of which he has ignored,” she said.

“I then emailed him to protest about the fact that he had ignored my request for funding extra speed cameras in my ward. I suggested that his lack of a reply was ‘ignorant’ behaviour, which it was in the true sense of the word, since he had ignored me.

“His response was to say that he did not like the tone of my email, that he had gone to the council leader about it and that he must insist that I did not email him in a morning and at weekend, implying that this was somehow harassment.

“Having had so much intimidating behaviour from him myself, leading to a very difficult time within the council, I did react. However, rather than sending ‘a series’ of emails, it was a few – three to be precise.

“The rude word which seems to have damned me was in a message to the council leader, who I have known for many years and worked with closely.

“Clearly I was naive to believe that this email would remain private.”