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Councillor ‘was victim of a smear campaign’
10:09am Thursday 18th October 2012 in News
A councillor who failed to win reselection to defend his ward seat was the victim of a “smear campaign”, a Conservative Party inquiry has concluded.
A leaked report reveals a panel of three senior Tories ruled there was a deliberate attempt to discredit former Bradford Council executive member, Coun Adrian Naylor, which formed the backdrop to a candidate selection meeting last November.
It stated: “We have little hesitation in concluding that there was clearly a smear campaign about Councillor Naylor.”
The inquiry heard about a “whispering campaign against Coun Naylor, which, in short, was based around alleged inappropriate conduct towards council officials”.
The panel said it was “shown absolutely no reliable evidence of any wrongdoing by Councillor Naylor”, despite hearing of many concerns, issues and allegations.
All witnesses called had denied involvement in the smear campaign and the inquiry did not seek to point the finger of blame.
According to the report, however, the panel ruled fellow ward councillor Andrew Mallinson, and Bradford Council Conservative group leader Glen Miller should not have been involved in determining Coun Naylor’s re-selection for the Craven ward, which covers Silsden, Steeton, Eastburn and Addingham.
“The histories between the individuals were such that they could not be said to be impartial,” the report stated.
Former Tory member Coun Naylor went on to retain his seat in May’s elections as an independent candidate, defeating Andrew Rowley.
The hearing called on senior local Conservatives, including Coun Miller, MP Kris Hopkins and Keighley and Ilkley Conservative Association chairman, Dorothy Clamp, to “bring people together and not create factions”.
Panel members heard Coun Miller’s reason for not re-selecting Coun Naylor was due to his allegedly “shoddy attire and attitude” at a selection meeting last November.
Coun Miller also told the panel he believed Coun Naylor refused to work with his ward colleagues.
Coun Naylor: “I welcome the report and its findings, which exonerate me.”
Coun Miller declined to comment and Coun Malli-nson said he never instigated any slur campaign against Coun Naylor and stuck to purely election campaigning in the run-up to the polls.
Mrs Clamp said the Association had followed procedures as far as possible in the selection process.
Mr Hopkins, who spoke out against a “shameful” smear campaign against Coun Naylor, said he intended to play the “fullest part possible” in resolving the issues the association needed to address.