Lancashire county councillor refuses to apologise over claims of 'disrespect' for road workers, as he insists: "I am not a liar"
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Alan Hosker, who represents the Padiham and Burnley West division for the authority’s ruling Conservative group, was brought before County Hall’s conduct committee on Thursday.
Its members sat in a behind-closed-doors session to consider the matter – meaning that details of the complaint are scant.
However, their decision has now been published in minutes summarising the outcome of the meeting, which reveal that County Cllr Hosker has also been told to offer his apologies to the council’s standards boss for not co-operating with her investigation into the allegation against him.
The cross-party committee – chaired by fellow Tory Peter Buckley, the cabinet member for community and cultural services – concluded that County Cllr Hosker had breached the authority’s code of conduct during his interactions with members of an unnamed complainant’s staff on 11th August last year.
Taking into account the advice of an independent person who supports its work, the committee found that he had fallen foul of the rule stating that county councillors “must always treat people with respect, including the organisations and public you engage with and those you work alongside”.
While the committee report detailing the complaint has not been published, County Cllr Hosker – who is also the leader of the Conservative group on Burnley Council – has told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the allegation came after he raised safety fears with contractors working on behalf of the authority.
Following that interaction, he contacted the company of the workers involved – something which he says then led to a “counter complaint” being made against him later the same day.
Responding to the committee’s ruling that he must provide written apologies both to the complainant and Laura Sales, the county council’s monitoring officer, County Cllr Hosker said:
“There will be no apology – I acted in good faith [over] safety concerns. Had I acted out of turn, I would have gladly apologised, but I did nothing wrong.
“It was a waste of taxpayers’ money taking [the matter] to committee. I asked [for the workers] to be given words of advice only. I wasn’t going to bother, but I was upset at their attitude.
“Why would I complain if I was in the wrong? It’s shocking.
“I have been made out to be a liar – and I am not a liar,” added County Cllr Hosker, who was first elected to County Hall in 2017 as a UKIP representative before switching to the Tories via a stint with the Brexit Party.
He has been given until 1st June to make the demanded apologies.
In his capacity as a Burnley borough councillor in 2018 – when he was still a member of UKIP – he declined to abide by a ruling of the district authority’s standards committee over a video which had appeared on his Facebook page which supported English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson.
On that occasion, Cllr Hosker was told to undergo social media training, but refused, saying that the video – which was later removed – had been posted to his account by someone else. However, he did apologise over the matter.
This week’s county council conduct committee hearing against him was held in private under legislation permitting the exclusion of the press and public in the event of “exempt information” being revealed during the proceedings. In this case, that was considered to be “information relating to any individual”.
The committee decided that “the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information”.