Last Thursday saw a hearing by the Adjudication Panel investigating the case brought against Councillor Eleanor Pinfold by the Standards Board of England following a complaint by the Monitoring Officer of Sutton Council. Eleanor was disqualified for twelve months meaning that she has to relinquish her position as councillor for Cheam ward with immediate effect.

The findings of the Independent Adjudication Panel are a serious matter and we will carefully examine ways in which lessons need to be learned. It is appropriate to await Miss Pinfold’s announcement on her right of appeal, or alternatively her intention to accept the findings as they stand, with their attendant penalty.

Further comment, opinion or actions, pending an appeal, may be considered prejudicial at a time when due process is still underway. The Conservative Group adopts the Council’s Code of Conduct as its guide to acceptable behaviour by elected members.

Members of the Conservative Group are individually and collectively bound to obey the spirit and letter of the Code of Conduct. Breaches of the Code of Conduct by members, which result in sanctions against them, are mirrored by corresponding sanctions within the Conservative Group Rules which range from reprimand, suspension or expulsion.

The Conservative Group will make no further comment on this case until it has been fully discharged by either the Independent Adjudication Panel or by the Courts following an appeal.