Friday 21st June 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

ERYC: Open Letter To The Leader

ERYC: Open Letter To The Leader

Councillor Stephen PARNABY [Con.] – Leader – East Riding of Yorkshire Council


I take it upon myself to address you in this Open Letter in the hope of focussing you attention on the full significance of last week’s events.

I refer, in particular, to:

  1. the crass and insensitive comments of your (formerly) fellow Conservative member, Councillor Dominic PEACOCK [Con.], in relation to the brutal murder of Jo COX MP [Lab.];
  2. your own conduct in relation to the execrable Facebook comments of Councillor Dominic PEACOCK [Con.]; and, more importantly;
  3. the extent to which it is clear that your Leadership has now run its course. Five-and-a-half years have elapsed since you were deselected by the Party. To quote the Taxpayers’ Alliance, from 27th November 2010, “It is now obvious there is a lame-duck leadership in charge of the East Riding.”

To take the last of these first; the result of the Referendum shows us that, except in name, you and your Group are no longer Conservatives at all. You are at odds with the Party you purport to represent. From the laudable turn-out of 74.8%, the LEAVE vote had it by 60.4% – far above the national figure of 51.9%.


Three out of every five East Riding electors stand diametrically opposed to the declared intent of Conservative leader David CAMERON, an intent that you appear to have subverted in order to secure the popular vote. It is almost as though the people of the East Riding, having believed they were voting in the 2015 elections for the Conservatives and their REMAIN policy (and their conservative adherence to the status quo) now find themselves having elected what amounts to a UKIP Council – and, in the case of Councillor Dominic PEACOCK [Con.], something a good deal further to the right than that; something that many would term ‘Jackboot’ Conservatism.

Your show of swift and decisive action to expel Councillor Dominic PEACOCK [Con.] from your Conservative Group was almost immediately exposed as mere political expediency – ‘shop window-dressing’ – when it became apparent that you had withheld from Full Council, throughout the entire meeting, the information that you had already communicated to the Press, before the meeting even began. Pure ‘shop window-dressing’.

The Yorkshire Post updated their article at 14:13 – while you were on your feet in the Council chamber saying nothing at all about it – thus telling the world what you had chosen to hide from your own Council.

Obviously, members of your own Conservative Group were already aware of your action – the majority having already voted in its favour (though not unanimously, due to the misguided loyalty of some of your Group – over whom you have clearly lost all authority).

All other East Riding Councillors were left to read in the newspapers the fact that Councillor Dominic PEACOCK [Con.] had been expelled from the ERYC Conservative Group. You apparently considered it none of their business.

How high-handed. How arrogant. How secretive. How duplicitous.

How weak.

And how cowardly, too, of Councillor Dominic PEACOCK [Con.] to shirk his clear duty to attend the meeting and apologise in person to his fellow Councillors – whose standing in the East Riding, and in the country as a whole, has been brought into almost unparallelled disrepute by Councillor PEACOCK’s obnoxious remarks. Genuine Conservatives must be mortified.


Please be sure to record my Formal Complaint against Councillor Dominic PEACOCK [Con.] on those grounds. I await your formal acknowledgement.

In my view, Councillor Dominic PEACOCK [Con.] now has no option but to resign his seat. If he wishes to solicit the support of his electorate, he may, of course, stand again. That is his prerogative. I doubt that many electors would wish to it be known that they had voted for such a coarse and tasteless man.

And what of Councillor Arthur HODGSON [Con.], who this week has left the Council under a very dark cloud indeed?


It seems no time at all since five members of your Conservative Group abandoned ship, disgusted by your autocratic and self-interested approach to local government.

Even those members who continue to enjoy your favour must be wondering when you will shed some light on the question as to what will become of your silent colleague Councillor Dee SHARPE [Con.], now that her European sinecure has been cast in doubt.


And, speaking of BREXIT, the pundits are saying that the widely-unanticipated result represents, more than anything, an expression of the contempt of the common man for autocratic and duplicitous politicians.

The country – and the County – is in the throes of political turmoil, Stephen, and you appear to have lost touch with the people whom you are duty-bound (and well-remunerated) to represent.

Your inability to exercise a quality of leadership that commands real respect is now abundantly manifest;

  1. you have failed to secure the apology and resignation of Councillor Dominic PEACOCK [Con.];
  2. you have failed even to inform your Council of what had taken place behind Conservative closed doors; and
  3. you have failed to dispel persistent rumours concerning the your own conduct.

Last Thursday, the electors of the East Riding gave voice to their views; they said LEAVE.

That is my message to you, Stephen PARNABY.

LEAVE. Stand  down. Resign – for the sake of the electorate and for the sake of your fellow Conservatives, five of whom are already understood to be preparing to leave your sinking ship.

Twenty years is too long for any man to be Leader. It is way past the time when a prudent man might ponder whether it is time to jump – before being pushed. I dare say you will miss the money, but a quick trip to Las Vegas could soon set that to rights.



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