Why I’m not celebrating over Brian Coleman

Highly controversial Conservative London Assembly Member Brian Coleman is in the news again, though this time it’s not for an outrageous expense claim or the like.

The Barnet Standards Board has ruled that he broke the rulesfor sending an email that called the blogger Roger Tichbourne “an obsessive, poisonous individual”.

I’m not exactly over-joyed at the outcome. Yes, Brian Coleman has once again behaved stupidly. Yes, he deserves criticism. But should such matters really be up for standards boards to rule on? I don’t think so. Let the actions of politicians be public and then let the voters or (if it’s a matter of the law) the police decide. There’s also libel law and a special legal provision against false statements about election candidates. This case does nothing to convince me that we need something beyond that to judge on whether politicians’s words are appropriate.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Talking about expense claims has Lord Rennard repaid the taxpayer the £ 41,000 he claimed for a second home?

  • So what should Standards Committees (not Boards) rule on, Mark? It is all very well leaving everything to “the political process” You can see in the HoC where that has led.

  • John Zim, according to the Sunday Times, it’s Labour and Tories who should be worried about their peer’s expences.

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