Flintshire Council leader denies keeping 'journal of criticism' about political rival

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

THE leader of Flintshire Council has hit back at allegations he kept a journal of criticism about a political rival.

Cllr Arnold Woolley has defended his decision to keep a personal diary which documented the “behaviour” of Cllr Patrick Heesom after Conservative councillor Alison Halford claimed during a tribunal into her own conduct that both men were after the job of council leader.

Former Labour AM Ms Halford told the Adjudication Panel for Wales tribunal on Thursday: “Arnold Woolley did not like Cllr Heesom in any way, shape or form. I hesitate to say this, but there was a financial interest in him maintaining the role of leader as it pays quite a lot of money.

“Therefore, I could suggest that there was a motive as to why the journal contains things that are detrimental to Cllr Heesom.”

But Cllr Woolley said: “That allegation I deny emphatically. It is totally false.

“My motive was and is the protection of Flintshire County Council from foreseeable harm.

“It is unfortunate and unfair that during the evidence that I gave on oath the day before Cllr Halford’s allegation, no such challenge was made to my face by Cllr Halford or her legal representatives so that I could defend myself at the public hearing.”

Cllr Woolley told the tribunal last Wednesday: “I have always been something of a scribbler, a diarist, but many months before I believed Cllr Heesom was on a course that could cause difficulty and could be very damaging to the county and I felt there may be a case when this was needed. It was not a case of ‘having a go’.”

Cllr Heesom is now calling for a judicial review into the Ombudsman’s inquiry into his conduct over allegations of bullying.

He said he cannot be given a fair tribunal after allegations about his own behaviour were publicly heard during Cllr Halford’s case.

Cllr Rita Johnson was also left angered at remarks in Cllr Woolley’s dairy about her wearing jeans to a council meeting.

She told the Leader: “What is he doing keeping a journal especially about petty things like that?

"Haven’t they got better things to think about than what I’m wearing?

"They are supposed to be running a council.”
 

See full story in the Leader

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