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Tory leader Alan Horton launches 'brown paper envelope' slur during Swale council debate

A senior Conservative faces being hauled before the Standards Committee after alleging that Swale council's Cabinet is on the take.

Cllr Alan Horton made the accusation during a full council Skype meeting on Wednesday, June 17, about lorry parks and also cast aspersions on the Duchy of Cornwall run by Prince Charles.

Cllr Alan Horton - Leader of the Conservative group on Swale council. Picture: Swale council
Cllr Alan Horton - Leader of the Conservative group on Swale council. Picture: Swale council

During an eight-minute debate about installing a lorry park near the M2 at Faversham he said the council's Cabinetwas "clearly working behind the scenes in closed doors, probably involving brown paper packages, with the Duchy of Cornwall who do not want a lorry park opposite their land."

It came after Swale council shelved plans for an HGV park at Brenley Corner in January. The Duchy owns nearby Westwood Court in Faversham.

Cllr Horton, leader of the Conservative group and who represents Hartlip, Newington and Upchurch, later apologised for his "emotional, charged and inappropriate" language after deputy council leader Cllr Mike Baldock moved that he be ejected.

Council leader Roger Truelove (Lab) said later: "I took this to be an accusation of bribery between Cabinet members and the Duchy of Cornwall and asked Cllr Horton to withdraw the reference to brown paper parcels.

Cllr Roger Truelove (Labour), Leader of Swale council. Picture: Swale council
Cllr Roger Truelove (Labour), Leader of Swale council. Picture: Swale council

"He refused on the grounds that such language had been used about his party.

"Only after the threat of expulsion was raised did he apologise for saying this at a council meeting but he did not properly withdraw the accusation."

Cllr Baldock (Swale Independents Alliance, Borden & Grove Park) said: "It was a very inappropriate comment and absolutely shocking behaviour. It not only slandered the cabinet but maligned the future king of England. That must be treason."

It is understood 20 complaints have been lodged.

Cllr Truelove said the Cabinet was seeking legal advice as there was "absolutely no grounds" for the accusation.

Cllr Mike Baldock (Swale Independents), deputy leader of Swale council. Picture: Swale council
Cllr Mike Baldock (Swale Independents), deputy leader of Swale council. Picture: Swale council

He added: "Not only has the Cabinet been publicly maligned but so, too, has the estate of the heir to the throne; a strange thing for a avowedly patriotic party to do.

"The Cabinet feels that Cllr Horton has brought himself, his party and the Council into disrepute."

Cllr Horton said it was "not appropriate" for him to comment as he understood a complaint was active.

The debate was chaired by Swale mayor Cllr Ken Ingleton from the Isle of Sheppey.

Prince Charles, pictured presenting medals to 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles at the Sir John Moore Barracks, Shorncliffe.Picture: Chris Davey
Prince Charles, pictured presenting medals to 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles at the Sir John Moore Barracks, Shorncliffe.Picture: Chris Davey

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