Davey blasts bullying but…

Opinion piece

The Leader of the LibDems has blasted Dominic Raab over bullying. Sir Ed Davey called on the Deputy PM to stand down over the weekend and face a by-election.

Raab was found by an independent report to have bullied members of staff at Westminster. Two out of eight complaints against him were upheld.

The LibDem Leader told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “If he’s not prepared to do that to enable his constituents in Esher and Walton to have the MP they deserve, I think the government should withdraw the whip from him. Otherwise, they’re sending a message that bullying is somehow okay in the Conservative Party.”

It is hard to argue with Sir Ed’s principled stance. Except only that the LibDem Leader has been made aware of a very similar situation in Chard.

Three LibDem councillors on Chard Town Council have been found to have bullied town hall staff. Findings that were presented in an independent report by consultant Chris Rolley

The three councillors have refused to resign or even admit to any wrongdoing.

Angry local residents have contacted the Somerset party and Sir Ed’s own office. So far to no avail.

There has been a real cost to the council, aside from the reputational damage referred to in the independent report. It has been suggested that up to £250,000 May have been spent on pay offs, recruitment costs and the like as a result of the bullying.

The damage to the LibDems of three town councillors standing down would appear at first sight to be small compared with the loss of a Deputy Prime Minister.

In fact there is some considerable electoral capital to be had for being seen to deal with the problem. And the LibDems have legitimate high hopes of doing well in the Taunton Town Council election.

Yet neither Sir Ed nor the local party in Somerset has so far been prepared to take any action.

It leaves the LibDems open to accusations of opportunism and hypocrisy. To say nothing if a wasted opportunity to make a point on integrity in politics.

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