This is a reply from Phil Twiss to an elector who wondered whether Councillor Twiss might have over-reacted somewhat to the (correct) use of the word “cull” by a commentator on the blog of Independent Councillor Claire Wright (bold lettering ours). The letter to which this is a reply is below Councillor Twiss’s response:
The Conservative Party takes all threats of violence or incitement to violence very seriously and will always take appropriate action (no matter how innocuous or isolated/infrequent they may seem to casual observers like yourself) on a better safe than sorry footing. There are no exceptions to this and whilst the problem is more frequent with higher profile politicians (particularly during election periods) it is none the less a problem at all levels. I was election agent for Neil Parish M.P. during the 2010 General election and speak from a position of experience and it is pretty unpleasant.
Following concerns expressed by fellow EDDC Councillors on the precise wording of the comment made on Claire Wrights blog site yesterday as Secretary of the EDDC Conservative Group (a quite distinct role from Party Whip) I asked that it was removed which it was. A complaint was then made to Devon and Cornwall constabulary about the person who submitted the comment and where it was published; this is now subject to police investigation. The police have confirmed that this was the correct course of action to take and if after investigation they conclude there is no problem then that is the end of the matter.
As an illustration of a regrettable and unfortunate aside you may have read that a Councillor was recently attacked in Coventry by three people over a car parking issue, see http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/coventry-city-councillor-attacked-car-8191149 which is also the kind of function EDDC deal with and therefore why this kind of threat is unsettling to our Group members.
I make no apology for this apparently uncompromising position which has absolutely nothing to do with the size of the EDDC Conservative Group.”
T: 01404 891327
M: 07971 871651
One has to hope that the police are more widely read than Mr Twiss.
Here is the original letter to Mr Twiss
What on earth has made the majority party, (of which you are not the Whip so why are you reacting on their behalf?) so twitchy as to provoke your over-the-top language and threatening behaviour towards Cllr Wright?
I suggest you read the East devon Alliance website where you will see quotations from Messr Cameron, Clegg and Robinson all using the word cull in the sense of reduction in numbers, not as mass murder.
An apology to Cllr Wright for the threat would be in order if you are man enough.”
Since Mr Twiss’s letter above has invoked his last campaign alongside Neil Parish, I was wondering what the latter, my constituency MP, might feel about all this.
At a time when the Police and other agencies are doing all they can through the Cyber Crime Units Mr Twiss mentions to anticipate the horrifying misdeeds of child abusers, international narcotic criminals, people traffickers, and domestic terrorist plots devised online, does his MP really feel that one of his key constituency workers, and a serving councillor to boot, is acting in the public interest here?
It puts me in mind of the “Plebgate” libel case which Andrew Mitchell has just lost. A storm in a very expensive teacup.
Is this really all our Tory councillors have to do with developers all over the district and an HQ project gone pear-shaped after hundreds of thousands if pounds was wasted on it.
I can understand them wanting to distract us from this but is this seriously the best they can do. Voters should be wanting their council tax back!
In the first instance, Cllr Twiss appeared to be acting on his own initative but subsequently he explained that he was the spokesperson for an unknown number of Tory councillors.
As you will be reading this Cllr Twiss, will you clarify how many fellow Tory councillors complained to you that they were in genuine fear? This is important because it reflects the quality of their thinking and reasoning processes.
Further will you confirm, or otherwise, whether the fellow Tory councillors included the two retired police officers amongst your colleagues. I ask this because we might have expected them to advise anyone with a genuine complaint, and I emphasis geniuine, to contact the police themselves and not go through a secretary. Victims of crime involving alleged threats of violence are not known for having a conference and then asking the secretary to make a complaint. Such a course hardly substantiates any claims of them being in genuine fear.
One can think of other reasons for getting together though.
You infer, from the comment about the police confirming that your action was proper, that it was the response from an authoritative police source. If you managed to get through to such a senior police officer then congratulations are in order as most people struggle to get beyond the enquiry number. I ask this because advice from an experienced officer, even one who may be more of the current breed concerned about political correctness than reality, is a very different thing from advice from a civilan enquiry clerk untrained and unexperienced in such matters.
It is the considered view of one retired police inspector that the complaint is totally groundless and should be seen as malicious and vindictive, and would perhaps justify a complaint of wasting police time against the complainant. However, said retired officer also takes the view that pursuing such a course would add to the waste of valuable police time .
The fear that Cllr Claire Wright has instilled in the EDDC Tory party, and we can all now see just how real it is, is of a sound thrashing at the next elections- yes an election cull! When Tories get together to make such a pitifull and improper complaint, you can be sure they are truly worried about their seats and allowances.
The voting public should perhaps see this as a fine demonstration of what a good Independent can achieve, how such a person can challenge the might of a united party and one who puts party before common sense and their electorate.
With all the present publicity surrounding stupid remarks from politicians, you have to wonder if the actions by Cllr Twiss raise questions about whether he is made of the right stuff to be serving on EDDC’s cabinet and intellectually up to being part of the process of making important decisions based on sound judgement. Maybe the answer is in the outcomes of some of those cabinet decisions.