Councillor apology after investigation in Preston

Coun Daniel Dewhurst

Coun Daniel Dewhurst

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A councillor who found himself at the centre of a probe into “electoral irregularity” has made a public apology.

Conservative councillor Daniel Dewhurst, who was an election agent in May’s polls, received a caution by police after an investigation was launched.

The Lea ward representative has now also apologised in the council chamber, after leader Peter Rankin brought up the “misdeeds”, and asked why the issue had not been dealt with by the standards committee.

Coun Dewhurst said the incident involved him signing for candidates on paperwork, and said it was “not malicious”.

He said: “I would like to apologise in relation to the election just gone. A caution was received, however it was non-malicious, not that that’s an excuse, I submitted the papers on behalf of my candidates and I was ill-informed as to the correct process.

“I do apologise to members of this council and members of my constituency, it will not happen again and a lesson has been learnt.”
Conservative group leader Coun Neil Cartwright said: “It is five to six months after the event, and I wonder why this is being brought at the moment.

“We are trying to encourage young members to come into this council chamber.

“We’ve all done things in the past which maybe in hindsight we wouldn’t do, but you take the consequences and you draw a line under it.

“In the last 20 years we’ve had a really good relationship and if what you’re trying to do now is have a real dig and a go at one of our members then it’s a different ball game.

“I really hope you’re not going to embark on a witch hunt and nasty attack on my members, because who knows what tomorrow may bring.”

Coun Rankin said he thought the issue had been subject to investigation, or he would have raised it earlier.