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Third meeting in Milton Keynes councillor 'silly woman' row

Andrew Dransfield Image copyright Andrew Dransfield
Image caption Andrew Dransfield has been censured by Milton Keynes Standards Sub-Committee

A third meeting will be held to decide whether the phrase "silly woman" was political ding-dong between two politicians or something deserving of punishment.

In 2017, Milton Keynes councillor Andy Dransfield used the words about Zoe Nolan at a Loughton parish meeting.

In November Milton Keynes Council's standards committee decided he had not breached any conduct code.

But an appeal against that decision was made by Loughton's parish chairman.

Peter Todd, who is also a lawyer, appealed on the basis that given the standards committee had found the Independent councillor had called Labour's Zoe Nolan a "silly woman", they needed to then find it was a breach of behaviour.

He argued the benchmark was "respect", not "seriously or substantially disrespectful" behaviour.

'Waste of time'

At a second Milton Keynes standards sub-committee meeting on Tuesday, Mr Todd said: "The evidence is not in dispute, Councillor Dransfield did say 'get a sense of humour, silly woman'.

"It is not acceptable to use sexist, abusive and derogatory language even against a political opponent," he said.

Mr Todd said the committee went against the view of an independent advisor and investigator in finding no breach.

Another meeting will now be held to decide on a legal point of whether the phrase "silly woman" is a breach of the code.

Image copyright Loughton & Great Holm Parish Council
Image caption Zoe Nolan was called a "silly woman" by Andrew Dransfield

Mr Dransfield, who will be stepping down at elections in May, said: "As I was walking here, I saw homeless people in the underpasses of Milton Keynes. This is a waste of time."

The councillor was censured at the first standards committee meeting and made to apologise to a female police officer attending the 2017 Loughton parish meeting.

He had told the officer that she "looked young enough to be at school" and asked her whether she should be at home doing her homework.

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