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Complainant Name:
Mr Malcolm Davis

Clauses Noted: 1, 2

Publication: Dudley News


Mr Malcolm Davis complained that a series of letters in the run-up to the local elections in Dudley in May 2007 in which he lost his seat as a UKIP councillor contained inaccurate and misleading information about him and that he had been denied an opportunity to reply.


The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following letter from the complainant in addition to an editorial note of apology:

In the run-up to the last local elections, certain allegations were made against me in the letters pages of the Dudley News. I would like to set the record straight since I was not afforded an opportunity to reply at the time. The claims concerned my affiliation to other political parties and the stance I took in respect of the application for a mosque and associated community centre on land off Hall Street, Dudley. I would like to make it clear that I stand for UKIP and I have never been a member of any other political group apart from the Liberal Democrats. I am chairman of UKIP in the Dudley Metropolitan Borough and have never held any executive position in any other party. References to me being a member of the Conservatives, Labour or the British National Party were misleading and untrue. I have always stood with the people of Dudley who opposed the mosque scheme and my position has never changed. The allegation that, as a member of the Central Area Committee in 2000, I agreed to the "land swap" deal with the Muslims of Dudley is untrue. In fact, I was the only member who refused to vote in its favour. At that time on the committee, there were 14 Labour councillors so I had little influence on the overall decision. At the Central Area Committee meeting just before the last elections, I challenged the other members over this. It was made clear at this public meeting that the committee had no powers to authorise anything but could only make a recommendation to full council. It was at full council that the ruling Labour group agreed the deal. I find it despicable that certain subversive political elements used the Dudley News website to post a bogus "apology" in my name over the mosque issue. Fortunately, the hoax was exposed and I am informed by the newspaper's publishers that safeguards have been put in place to combat this sort of abuse. I would also like to point out that during my seven-year term as councillor for St James' ward I devoted my time to looking after the needs of all vulnerable groups. I dealt with more than 4,000 individual cases and submitted petitions with over 40,000 names, including nearly all the 23,000 signatures I obtained against the mosque application, which was eventually thrown out. The latest petition I have submitted contains 3,000 signatures on behalf of the staff, residents and families of Arcal Lodge, which is facing closure.

Editor's note: We accept the points raised by Mr Davis and regret any misunderstanding.

Report: 76

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