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‘Why I voted to bar press from session’
9:30am Monday 21st January 2013 in News
A COUNCILLOR who supported a motion to bar the press from a hearing into alleged inappropriate comments made by Lord Mayor Alan Armitage has spoken out.
Dick Wolff, the only Green Party councillor on the standards committee, which ruled to hold last Wednesday’s meeting in private, by four votes to three, said he had not tried to hide his views.
Mr Wolff, who represents St Mary’s ward, had not responded when approached by the Oxford Mail, but contacted the newsroom on Friday.
He said: “I’ve never been unwilling to account for the way I voted. The decision was legally permissible, and advisable, though regrettable.
“It was advisable because, in my judgment, by virtue of the circumstances out of which the complaint arose, the press couldn't report any more than they have already without enabling the girl to be identified.
“The coalition Government has abolished the standards regime – we don’t even have to have a standards committee – but I have strongly argued we needed one, although I feel its quasi-legal processes create as many problems as they solve. But if we have one, I’m keen the public can scrutinise its work and I’ll press for a final report.”
The investigation was launched after Mr Armitage, a Liberal Democrat, allegedly made inappropriate remarks to a schoolgirl at an event last June.