6 February 2017

Standards Panel: Outcome

A Standards Panel hearing was held today about a comment posted on Councillor Nemeth’s twitter page on 19 July 2016. The complaint was made by Councillor Morgan, who considered the tweet a breach of the Code of Conduct for Members, which forms part of Brighton & Hove City Council's Constitution.

The panel found that, through his comment on Twitter on 19 July 2016, Councillor Nemeth:

  • failed to comply with paragraph 1(1) of the council’s Code of Conduct for Members (‘You must treat others with respect’);
  • failed to comply with paragraph 1(2) of the council’s Code of Conduct for Members (‘You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute’);

When delivering the panel’s findings Diane Bushell, the independent chair of the panel said; “Having heard from Councilllor Nemeth and his witnesses, the Panel concluded that Cllr Nemeth had not substantiated the claims he made in his tweet of 19 July 2016. In addition the Panel considered that the use the language of ‘liar’ or ‘lying’ is disrespectful and of itself is a breach of the Code. The Panel also considered that if Cllr Nemeth believed Cllr Morgan had lied, that was a matter that could have been brought through the Council’s Code of Conduct as a Standards complaint to be formally investigated.”

The Panel recommends the following sanctions:

  • That Cllr Nemeth deletes the tweet of 19 July 2016
  • That Cllr Nemeth be offered training on the code of conduct for members and the social media protocol for members
  • The social media protocol be reviewed to enable the right of reply, for example through tagging

A full decision notice is available

Membership of the panel was as follows:

  • Diane Bushell (independent person)
  • Councillor Tom Druitt (Green)
  • Councillor Alan Robins (Labour)
  • Councillor Ann Norman (Conservative)