Brentwood Conservatives issue apology and pay damages to LibDem leader
The Brentwood Conservative Party has agreed to pay �4,000 in damages to the borough’s Liberal Democrat leader after he took libel action against them.
With the case settled out of court, it was agreed that the party will also give a full personal apology to Cllr David Kendall and deliver an apology leaflet to local residents.
The leaflet, currently being delivered to around 8,000 homes, says: “In the Conservative leaflet... published in July 2010... we wrongly accused the Liberal Democrat leader Cllr David Kendall of condoning the misleading of local residents.
“We also wrongly inferred that Cllr David Kendall was happy to allow Liberal Democrat councillors to peddle dishonest information in an attempt to hoodwink local people.”
It continues: “We hereby advise that such allegations were in fact false and were wrongly made for political gain.”
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Cllr Kendall’s legal costs, a total of �4,000, were also paid for by the Conservative Party.
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Cllr Kendall, who runs a carpet and upholstery cleaning business, said: “I decided to take legal action on my own to protect my reputation as a local councillor and as a small businessman and I am delighted to have won.
“This case was never about the money, it was about the principle of standing up for my rights and being prepared to go all the way to the High Court if necessary.”
The original leaflet referred to a Standards Board case against Lib-Dem county Cllr Barry Aspinell. Cllr Aspinell was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing.
Frank Kenny, chairman of the Brentwood and Ongar Conservative Association, said the party accepted that after Cllr Aspinell’s appeal the leaflet was incorrect.
Mr Kenny added: “We actually thought that we could win the case but were advised that it could run into costs of �50-�60,000.
“We live in a claims culture, but that won’t stop us speaking out in the future when we believe that the Liberal Democrats are wrong.”