Cllr Pugh: Treat ‘rumours’ as such, over Cratus questions

Leader of the council denies any conflict of interest working for lobbying firm that has connections to controversial projects on the Isle of Wight.

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Readers will remember the news we ran last week that a written question submitted by Cllr Bacon over Cllr Pugh’s involvement with lobbying firm, Cratus, was rejected by the legal department for inclusion during the full council meeting.

Cllr Bacon told On The Wight, “I submitted my question in good faith out of concern for what seems to be a potential conflict of interest between David Pugh’s role as leader of the Council and his employment with a Media Communications company that appears to be connected with a number of controversial projects on the Island.

“I was surprised that the question was rejected as it would seem to me to be an important question of policy what activities senior members of the Council can acceptably engage in. I also hoped that an answer might put an end to rumours which might have the effect of tarnishing the Council and other Council members more generally.”

Question put directly to Pugh
Cllr Bacon was advised by an officer to pose the question directly to Cllr Pugh. Following the question being rejected he emailed the following to the leader.

“Last week it was noted in the media that Councillor Pugh is employed as an account director for a media consultancy called Cratus. The report noted that one of the company’s clients is Infinergy, which was the applicant in the planning application for the Wellow Wind Farm.

“As there are many rumours doing the rounds could the leader state whether Cratus is currently engaged, or has in the past been engaged, to act in respect of the application to build a new Asphalt plant, the PFI contract, Academy Schools on the Island and/or the Ecoisland project.”

Pugh advises Bacon to ignore ‘rumours’
Cllr Pugh responded by email, saying, “Below is the answer I would have given at Full Council.

“It is my role here this evening to answer questions relating to Isle of Wight Council policy and budget. It is not within my remit to answer questions about who may be the clients of a private company, just as it wouldn’t be within your remit to answer whether BPP Professional Education (BPP Law School), of whom you are an employee, has any clients engaged in activity on the Isle of Wight.”

Treat rumours as such says Pugh
He went on to say, “I suggest that you contact the company directly should you have any enquiries about who their clients are. In the meantime, you should treat the ‘many rumours’ to which you refer as just that – rumours.

“You will recall that there were ‘many rumours’ about my conduct when you made a series of false allegations about me three years ago. These allegations were found, during the investigation, to be without foundation. They were just rumours, so in dealing with this latest set of rumours I would urge him to heed your past experience in such matters.”

Conflict of interest a matter of judgement, says Pugh
He finished by denying any conflict of interest, “In response to the second part of your question, I consider it is a matter of judgement for individual members to reach a view as to whether any employment they engage in creates a conflict of interest.

“I have considered the facts in this case and am satisfied that there is no such conflict.”

“Pugh seems to prefer to let the rumours continue”
Unhappy with the response he received from the leader of the council, Cllr Bacon told On The Wight, “I was disappointed by his answer as he seems to prefer to let the rumours continue rather than say whether the company has any connection with the issues and areas identified or deny it if in fact it does not.

“I do think this is an issue that should be addressed. I think the concern is heightened as on the company’s website David Pugh has a profile which implies that his position as leader of the Council is inherent to the abilities he has to offer to clients”.

Image: Nomadic Lass under CC BY 2.0

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Monday, 29th October, 2012 10:38am

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Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight Jobs, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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26 Comments on "Cllr Pugh: Treat ‘rumours’ as such, over Cratus questions"

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ThomasC

Such delightful, slimy and stereotypical Tory arrogance. He seems to have become confused with regards to who pays him to do his council job – the electorate. The sooner that situation is changed to Cratus being the only organisation putting money into his bank account, the better.

JamesP

“It is not within my remit to answer questions..”

It never is, is it?

Would Cratus have any interest in David Pugh’s ‘abilities’ if he wasn’t council leader?

At least Cllr Bacon has a proper job!

JamesP

Brilliant picture, BTW. Great spot, Sally (and Nomadic Lass).

random bloke
I wonder if the question was posed to Jonathan Bacon about BPP Professional Education, would he answer it or take a similar stance to Pugh? Perhaps you could enlighten us Mr Bacon. Rumours are just that, rumours. However, they always start somewhere. So, is the old adage true that there is no smoke without fire? Or is someone using a smoke machine to make up these rumours?… Read more »
Warrior
I find the Leader of the Council’s reply insulting. Cllr Bacon addressed a fair question which the Leader does not wish to address and he is using his spin to get out of answering it. Like many others I saw the You Tube film of his “rumoured” behaviour three years ago. The behaviour was not rumoured it was there for all to see. Like many others I… Read more »
random bloke

Its not his behaviour 3 years ago that was rumoured. The complaint back then was that Pugh had used the Comms dept for political advantage. He was cleared of that.

wightywight
@Jon: Get it completely right jon…. He was reported to the Standards Committee (it was argued it should be heard not by the local ‘ethical committee’ but by the ‘Standards for England Board’..) for numbers of contraventions arising from the incident. Part of the defence hung on the premise that he was NOT attending on offical business (…..therefore should NOT have used Council resources later)whilst if it… Read more »
Janet Scott

Thank goodness for WW.

Unadulterated FACTS.

random bloke
why would I feel the need to state the full facts? they are clearly linked to in the story above. I simply pointed out that his behavior was not directly the subject of the complaint and mentioned one thing which was a subject of the complaint. Im quite sure people can do their own research if they are that interested in something which happened 3 years ago.… Read more »
wightywight
@Jon: …erm, cleared of what? sh*t sticks I’m afraid…. and there was plenty of that surrounding this incident. Your wondering why he mentions all this again….? when one of the people who brought the Cowesgate complaint is one and the same as the one who sought to have a perfectly valid question (inspite of Cllr Pugh’s disgraceful reply)answered in an open and honest manner. Bad blood Jon,… Read more »
wightywight

@Jon:

QUOTE:
“why would I feel the need to state the full facts? ”

If you have to ask that question…… well, you know the rest!

ww

random bloke
Cleared of the accusations made. Is that not blatantly obvious? Mud might stick if enough is hurled. So what? It still doesnt mean there was any wrongdoing. I never forget that councillors have been elected by the electorate to represent the electorate… That STILL doesnt mean that Pugh has done anything wrong. Opening my mind any more STILL wont convince me that Pugh has done anything wrong.… Read more »
random bloke

one more thing… if you must quote me, please do so in context… taking part of my comment and twisting it to fit what you want to say is a poor attempt at obfuscation

Cynic
Could somebody please rationalise the apparent dichotomy in the following statements? “EcoIsland (EI) – they say that whilst they did have ‘…initial conversations with Cratus…the relationship was never formalised.’ Their reply continues, ‘I can confirm that we(EI)have neither employed or paid Cratus…” http://onthewight.com/2012/10/23/david-pughs-anti-asphalt-plant-scaremongering-claim-challenged/ (Keith Eldridge 25/10/2012) “Eco-Island appoint CRATUS to help their Political to help their Political Engagement and Communications” http://www.cratus.co.uk/portfolio/renewable-energy-brochure-launches (email from David Pugh) “Furthermore he… Read more »
James Luke
I think expecting politicians to use their own judgement and regulate their own behaviour is completely unacceptable. Did Pugh bother to pay attention during the MP’s expenses scandal? His own party leader has stated that lobbying is the next big scandal. As an elected official the onus is on him to prove that there is no conflict of interest. What surprises me is that he did not… Read more »
Ben

Would be interesting to establish whether Cratus Ltd. has had any links to the Biomass plant proposal – another area where there are many unanswered questions.

Black Dog
Classic Pugh Speak, muddy the waters don’t answer the question and try and bluster his way out of a situation. Councillor Bacon has every right to raise this within the council, their legal department should no be getting involved (they are much better than that) If the Ethics and Standards Committee still existed it would be subject to a complaint and therefore have to be investigated. We… Read more »
wightywight

……and, are Cratus *involved* with Eurovia…or acting with/for them in this matter.

ww

tryme
“I have considered the facts in this case and am satisfied that there is no such conflict.” No doubt a Judgement of Solomon by a wise & impartial observer….. No, hang on! With this familiar phrase drawn from centuries of British judiciary, Pugh pompously makes himself judge & jury of his own case. I think we may have another Mr Pooter here, he can’t see of himself… Read more »
Black Dog
A classic sign of Hubris symptom. Doctor David Owen lists the following Symptoms: • A narcissistic propensity to see one’s world primarily as an arena in which to exercise power and seek glory • A disproportionate concern with image and presentation • A messianic manner • Excessive confidence in own judgment and contempt for advice • Exaggerated self-belief, bordering on omnipotence • A belief that one is… Read more »
Cynic

….. and David Owen i an expert in such matter! :-))

Black Dog

Dr David Owen: He was neurology and psychiatric registrar at St Thomas’s Hospital.He went on to become Research Fellow on the Medical Unit doing research into Parkinsonian trauma and neuropharmacology.

I believe he can actually comment on Hubris Syndrome.

Dr David Owen is an individual with REAL QUALIFICATIONS and the experience to back it up.

Cynic

Ah! So it was the former MP for Plymouth Dr. (now Lord) David Owen referring to Tony Blair (spit! spit!)?

David Owen himself has been described as “A man not known for his modesty :-))

Black Dog

He has freely admitted that he has shown signs of Hubris himself.

I am absolutely certain that Blair would have instructed solicitors if he thought he could prove David Owen was wrong about him.

hussar

From the responses various people have had from Cllr Pugh, there appears to be a vital part of his education missing! “When you’re in a hole, for god’s sake throw away the shovel”

tryme

If Black Dog is correct to identify DP with the Hubris Syndrome, we’re certainly all in trouble. How terrifyingly apt they are to descibe Tony Blair though, (not that I want to go off-topic….)