On 8th February, a few days after my post on freedom-speech-democracy-national-parks Peter Argyle, Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, posted a Statement on Cairngorms News about his dispute with Board Member Councillor Bill Lobban titled “Convener Clear on Code of Conduct”. Its positive that Peter Argyle has been open about this because what he has done, albeit inadvertently, is to highlight a fundamental contradiction at the heart of the Code of Conduct.
The issue that has arisen is emphatically not about Mr Lobban’s right to speak out or support his constituents as a councillor. It is not about freedom of speech. It is simply about the duties imposed upon him and all of us on the CNPA board by the Code of Conduct which we all signed up to when appointed to the board. It specifically requires us to act at all times in the best interests of the CNPA.
The relevant part of the Code of Conduct which Peter Argyle refers to comes under “General Principles”:
However, as he is a Councillor, Bill Lobban is also bound by the Code of Conduct for Highland Council and guess what, this also includes, under the section on General Principles, a clause on Duty: