Friday 23rd February 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

Deputy Mayor Speaks Out

Deputy Mayor Speaks Out

A Letter to the Editor (and to her fellow Councillors and the people of the Borough) by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Roxanne MURPHY (pictured above), who hopes to elicit some sense of responsibility in the Leadership in regard to placing Safeguarding above party politics.



The recent reports concerning an elected member of Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) threatening to MURDER fellow members has, perhaps unsurprisingly, engendered a considerable amount of public and member interest.

For my part, I felt it necessary to ask, and have asked, my fellow Councillors if they considered that such threats, and indeed intimidation, such as threatening to give a fellow member a good “Irish Kicking”, should ever be condoned.

Of those members who responded – none from the LABOUR GROUP, it should be noted – most were of the opinion that such behaviour was unacceptable and should be vigorously condemned.

There were, however, a few who considered that my questioning whether threatening to MURDER someone was unacceptable, was not raised because I have grave concerns for the safety of both elected members, Council staff and the general public (which, of course, I do), but for other motivations.

It has been suggested that my motivation for speaking out over this issue was part of some orchestrated WITCH HUNT against the member.

Or that my concern was POLITICALLY MOTIVATED so that, in some unspecified way, myself and others who consider such behaviour to be unacceptable, would gain some political advantage.

Let me state categorically that neither of these accusations is true.

Voicing concerns about any individual who expresses threats of MURDER, INTIMIDATION and VIOLENCE does NOT constitute a WITCH HUNT. It is just the right thing to do.

Further, I would strongly refute any suggestion that the legitimate fears of many people who are directly affected by these threats is POLITICALLY MOTIVATED.

The accusation that I am somehow involved in a WITCH HUNT is particularly insulting. The original threats to members were made back in 2016. Since then every effort has been made by those affected to deal with this situation completely privately and discreetly.

These efforts were, in fact, so successful that even though I am a member of the Council, I knew no details of how serious the threats were, until 2020.

There is irrefutable evidence to confirm that those who were directly affected by the original threats of MURDER, tried – without any success I might add – to have this matter dealt with as sympathetically as possible, and I totally agree with this approach.

So let me be clear: nobody, least of all me, wants to see anyone being subjected to a WITCH HUNT.

However, the victims of the threats did think, and I fully agree, that both the Police and the Council, who both have a duty of care as a primary objective, have failed miserably to take threats of MURDER seriously.

Indeed, it looks to many people like they have actively conspired to sweep the whole issue under the carpet.

Turning now to the accusations that my taking a stand against these threats is POLITICALLY MOTIVATED. I, again, strongly refute these accusations.

Indeed, in this regard my feeling is that the reason WHY the current political Labour leadership of the Council has failed to do anything to resolve this very serious situation is, without doubt, POLITICALLY MOTIVATED.

In order to remain in power the current Labour leader needs every vote he can get, that is a hard FACT.

Should even one of his supporters be removed from office, his tottering regime would fall.

Should the current political leadership be deposed this would of course mean a change of leadership in the TOWN HALL and it is unlikely that any new incoming administration would allow its self to be dominated and directed by Council Officers, which is undoubtedly the case at present.

Multi-million pound Officer-led schemes, such as the ARGOS development, for example, would inevitably be scrapped in favour of the TOWN SQUARE alternative favoured by both Old Town residents and, of course, hard pressed ratepayers throughout the Borough.

Who, it might reasonably be asked, has the most to gain from forcing preposterous schemes such as the £30 million pound ARGOS scheme on the public? The Officers and the political leadership, perhaps?

It is widely believed that both Officers of the Council and the political leadership of the Council have, over the last three years, been working collaboratively to protect and support the perpetrator of the MURDER threats.

They have done this in the full knowledge that, in doing so, they have put the safety of forty five elected members, Council staff and members of the public in jeopardy.

The possibility that people in public life are seen as targets has been amply demonstrated in recent times, just ask the families of MURDERED Jo Cox, MP, and MURDERED Sir David Amess, MP.

Furthermore, Labour MP Jess Phillips has written recently that a man who was already in prison for threatening to MURDER her, and others, was sentenced to a further 10 years in jail for continuing to threaten her. Phillips concluded that “our democracy is under constant attack” and it is difficult to argue with her conclusion.

The Leadership’s actions, and the support it currently enjoys from some elected members of the Council, is, as I see it, completely POLITICALLY MOTIVATED.

Safeguarding, it seems to me, is at the bottom of their list of priorities.

Having been employed in a senior management position in the public sector for many years, I have gained vast experience of how to manage many widely differing problems which occur from time to time in all organisations.

Good management is, as I see it, all about resolving problems and finding fair and workable solutions to often very complex and serious issues.

In my view, threatening to MURDER someone is about as complex and serious as it gets and I can say without any fear of contradiction that had an issue of this seriousness occurred in the private sector, it would have been resolved quickly and firmly.

Putting the lives of people at risk is not to be taken lightly, which, from what I have seen, is exactly what the current leadership are doing.

The leadership of SBC, both political and paid service should, in my view, be ashamed of themselves for allowing this very worrying, and for some very frightening, situation to continue.


Roxanne Murphy

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