to the Commissioner from Mr Michael Foster, 29 March 2006
Thank you for your letter of the 28th March and for
sight of the draft report into the complaint made against me.
I have a few observations and comments that I would like the committee
and yourself to consider.
On page 5, paragraph 12 my letter of reply has been
sent to members of the committee, but not the enclosures. I feel
that the content of the Annual Report produced by [Member A],
with clear references to "Vote Conservative" and particularly
in the light of the comments made by Mr Bird, reference to "Conservative
controlled Worcester County Council" needs to be made available
to the committee. As does further material which I have enclosed
On page 7, paragraph 15, Mr Luff does not deny his
complaint is vexatious. Indeed, he confirms what he said in his
original complaint, that his motivation for the complaint is political.
Commenting on incumbency and reference to a challenger unseating
me are made. This should be pointed out to the committee. I also
feel that previous complaints, which were entirely fabricated,
should be referred to especially as they are mentioned in Mr Luff's
original complaint. Mr Luff s motives in making this complaint
are also evident in that a journalist was notified of the complaint
being made several weeks ago, and if you remember I sought your
advice on what comment would be made by your office.
Paragraph 17 refers to my defence of a letter sent
on 16th December. It is important to note that the vast majority
of those who asked me to contact them had done so to my old office
address. Therefore to inform them formally of the change of address
was a perfectly legitimate use of House stationery and what many
would consider to be good business practice. The calendar was
enclosed as a by-product for these particular correspondents.
The vast majority of calendars purchased (10,000) were delivered
by hand, unaddressed by volunteers.
On page 9, paragraph 25 Mr Bird acknowledges that
a degree of judgement is called for. And in this sense, in hindsight,
it would have been better to have let the Department of Finance
and Administration see the text first to iron out any matters
However, the use of the term "Labour Government"
is made as a factual statement. We do not have another Government.
Referring to the Government's "investment" is not a
party political comment, it is meant as investment in the financial
sense. The story relates clearly to this. Similarly, "initiative"
is used in the sense of new policy. Had I prefaced "Labour"
with an adjective of praise such as "fantastic" or "brilliant"
then this would have been party political comment. As an accountant
I am by nature a numbers man, and did not appreciate that "investment"
would be construed as political comment.
Other members, and this is where [Member A]'s annual
report is relevant, clearly have similar views. In her report,
"[Member A] joins the celebrations with County
Council leader [Mr X] when the Conservative controlled Worcester
County Council turned down the planning application for a huge
rendering plant at Mayfield Farm, Hopwood".
It is a statement of fact that Worcestershire County
Council is Conservative controlled. I can't deny this, nor did
I think of complaining about it on these grounds. Had [Member
A] inserted a comment of praise before the word "Conservative"
then this would have been different.
I have also scoured a few other sources to highlight
what I mean, and perhaps the committee and the DFA would like
to comment on them, in the light of the complaint made against
[Member B], website funded through IEP, clearly featuring
"Conservative" with the party emblem (enclosed);
[Member C], website funded through IEP, an article
"only a united Conservative Party" and repeated use
of the word "Conservative" (enclosed);
[Member C], website again, featuring comment on "Labour's
culture of complacency on pensions" and repeated use of "Labour"
in a critical sense (enclosed);
[Member C], website again, article with numerous
mentions of new party leader and criticisms of Labour and Gordon
[Member D], websiteidentical content (enclosed);
[Member E] ditto;
[Member F] ditto;
[Member G] ditto;
Paragraph 26 makes reference to the use of colour
in my annual report. Although not an issue for the DFA, I feel
it important to make the point that my report is not in party
colours and there is at least as much blue as red. In stark contrast
to the report of [Member A] which is bold and bright blue in backdrop,
and gives reference to local Conservative Party website and email.
Further proof I believe that my report was not designed to promote
political party support.
As with previous correspondence, I hope this letter
can also be shared with the committee.
29 March 2006 Mr Michael Foster