Ex-Tory councillor censured for 'combative and inappropriate' behaviour

Fife Council's standards committee described former Conservative councillor Linda Holt's conduct as 'aggressive'.

Former Fife Tory councillor officially rebuked for ‘aggressive, combative and inappropriate’ behaviour LDRS

A former Fife Councillor has been officially censured for “aggressive” behaviour.

On Thursday, the full council was legally required to consider the Standards Commission’s decision to rebuke former representative Linda Holt 

Ms Holt was officially censured by the watchdog in July over claims of “aggressive” behaviour at a public meeting during her time in office. 

The censure is a formal recording of Standards Commission’s “severe and public disapproval of the respondent’s conduct.” 

Ms Holt was first elected as a Tory councillor for the East Neuk and Landward ward in 2017. She was not re-elected in 2022 and she is no longer a ward representative. 

However, her conduct was under investigation by the Standards Commission following complaints of “aggressive” and “disrespectful” behaviour from 2021 during her time in office. 

The panel considered multiple complaints about her behaviour from this time, and it was determined that Ms Holt failed to treat council officers with respect in emails from June 2021. 

Another complaint claimed that she “behaved disrespectfully” by speaking to a community council secretary in a “disrespectful and aggressive manner; raising her voice and speaking in an angry fashion to various members of the public, and treated them with contempt; and ignoring attempts by the acting chair to silence her.” 

In particular, the panel noted that her conduct had been described as “aggressive, combative and inappropriate” during the community meeting. 

It was determined that Ms Holt had breached the Councillors’ Code of Conduct in regard to her disrespectful behaviour towards the community council secretary. 

Complaints about her treatment of members of the public or her ignorance of attempts to silence her were not upheld by the commission. 

The final complaint claims that Ms Holt made “misleading and inaccurate statements about the [community council] secretary, and the respondent used provocative language to malign him.”

The statements were published on her constituency Facebook page as an “open letter to St Monans.” These complaints were also determined to be a breach of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct code. 

As part of the Standards Commission hearing, Ms Holt told the ESC that she considered the complaints to be vexatious and part of a sustained campaign against her. 

She accepted that the community council meeting in August 2021 had been unruly, but advised that the reason she had spoken with a loud voice was because she was partially deaf. 

The council noted the Standards Commission report and censure without comment on debate on Thursday.

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