Tuesday, 18 February 2014

My statement to the Crawley News after £1152 a meeting UKIP Councillor claims "smear campaign"

UKIP's hypocrisy is almost off the scale
A journalist from the Crawley News has contacted me to say that UKIP Crawley Councillor Karl Williamson has accused me of a smear campaign, and that my original post exposing his appalling attendence and his £1152 a meeting, was offensive. He also stated that Cllr Williamson is not intending to resign. He is apparently considering legal action against myself, as well as another Councillor who tweeted a link to my blog. Below is my response I sent to the Crawley News. I appreciate they won't print all of it but I think it useful for my entire response to be seen so that context can be seen for any selective quote that might be used. Thank you for all the good messages of support I have received on this. I genuinely believe the residents of Southgate are getting a very raw deal and deserve better. 
 "I view it as an insult to the residents of Southgate if he does not resign and seek re-election as a UKIP candidate. When he defected to UKIP in July, his argument at the time for not resigning and standing as a UKIP candidate was the cost of a by-election. However, resigning now and holding a by-election this May would be at the same time as the existing Council election, and at no extra cost whatsoever to the taxpayer. Southgate residents should be allowed an opportunity to vote on his record and for or against his new political party. Southgate did NOT elect a UKIP Councillor and residents are being disenfranchised by the status quo.

He should of course resign because of his poor attendance and no obvious evidence of him performing the role in recent weeks and months.

Karl Williamson's suggestion of a smear campaign by myself and being offensive is ridiculous and clearly a desperate attempt to deflect attention from the real story which is how much taxpayers money he has received for attending so few meetings. I have reported nothing but facts regarding his attendance and allowances and would not intend to cause any offence to anyone by what I write. Given that UKIP and Cllr Williamson like to publicly criticise Councillors of other parties for the allowances they receive and infer that other Councillors are only in it for the money, it is right that UKIP's only ever Councillor in Crawley comes under scrutiny on this very subject. 

There is total and blatant hypocrisy here and it is right to expose it, however uncomfortable that may be for UKIP and Cllr Williamson. When 'he' recently wrote (many believed was written by Lee Gilroy) about "cosy allowances" that other Councillors were receiving in 'his' Crawley Observer newspaper column, he opened himself up to scrutiny on this topic. At £512 an hour and £1152 a meeting, I put it to you that no Councillor's allowances are as cosy as his! In the recent Hayward’s Heath County Council by-election in December, UKIP put out a leaflet with a big strapline of "Cut Councillor Allowances" at the same time their only Councillor in the whole of the north of West Sussex was receiving more in allowances for the work he puts in than any other Councillor in the whole of Crawley, Horsham and Mid-Sussex. The hypocrisy and lack of integrity of UKIP is absolutely staggering.  

Given that Karl Williamson as a Councillor has a chequered history of making false allegations and complaints, including Standards complaints against a third of all other Crawley Borough Councillors (of which not one has ever been upheld) I view his threats of legal action as yet another in a long line of attempts to bully other Councillors. I will not be bullied into silence as the public have the right to know the work rate (or likely complete lack of in his case) of a Councillor.

Please note that my blog articles featuring Cllr Williamson relate only in connection with his capacity as a Councillor and as a member of UKIP. I would not normally comment about where any Councillor goes on holiday or spends their time/lives as it is not anyone's business but theirs. However, when a Councillor appears to be absent over a sustained period and not performing the role (but still claiming the allowance) and when other Councillors mention that they believe he is abroad much of the time, it then becomes a matter of public interest. Los Angeles has been mentioned to me by other Councillors and it is perfectly reasonable for me to pose the question of residency. I believed the photo I used to have been taken in LA and the other guys in it to be from LA. However, as I could not be certain of this (and I was hardly going to phone Karl Williamson up and ask him, especially if he was in LA and the call charge is high) I changed the caption description very soon after publishing to ensure I have written nothing that could be inaccurate.

 I am regularly at the town hall every week and yet in the last eight months, I have seen Cllr Karl Williamson myself on just two occasions - once in September and once in December. He can not justify his lack of action as a Councillor and he has no valid reason for not stepping down. If he wanted to have moral legitimacy as a UKIP Councillor, he could resign and contest his Council seat under the banner of his new political party so that Southgate residents get what they vote for, not the sham they have now."


Anonymous said...

All I will say is Cllr W, is a bully and unfortunately he is making legal threats to subdue anyone who seeks the truth. Yes he should resign and having read Cllr Crows blog , I would say to Cllr Williamson STOP before you make a more fool of your self.

Anonymous said...

Is there a button for "like"?

Mrs Reynolds said...

The conclusion I draw from this is that Cllr Williamson is only in it for the money. He is giving all politicians a bad name, not just Ukip. If he had any integrity, he would do as Cllr Crow suggests and resign so that he could either seek election for Ukip or leave and allow someone who wants to be a councillor to have a go.

Anonymous said...

If it comes to court, then an good witness would be UKIP candidate for Ifield who often complaints about Williams trips to LA.
Williamson and Wade do not get on but nobody gets on the toxic trio of Buke Gilroy and Williamson.

Anonymous said...

I struggle to see how the term smear campaign is applicable as that would imply something untruthful that is reputationally damaging was being stated as a fact. There isn't anything as such that is disputed.

Duncan Crow said...

Thank you to the Crawley News who printed much of my statement in last week's paper and what looks like all of it online.

Anonymous said...

I would also like to thank CN. It is interesting that Mr Williamson has not provided a full apology to both Mr Crow & Mr Peck. As they say once a bully always a bully. The truth hurts and as a Southgate OAP who did vote for him when he was a Conservative, it is not the mistake I will be making again.