Demand for e-mails to be searched

By Richard Wright

Saturday, April 6, 2013

 

CAROLE Dennett, the partner of the Island’s MP, has refused to say why she has asked the Isle of Wight Council to hand over any e-mails from councillors that mention her by name.

Ms Dennett has made a Subject Access Request (SAR) under the Data Protection Act. It requires the council to look at all councillors’ e-mails.

News of the SAR by the partner of MP Andrew Turner, who is not a member of the Conservative party, comes just before the election in which Conservatives try to retain their grip on the local authority.

The SAR, which is similar to a Freedom of Information request, focuses on all e-mails from councillors following her detailed letter to them all on February 23, 2011.

In that six-page document, she emphasised Mr Turner had no knowledge of it being sent.

The letter provoked concern at the time from the then chairman of the Conservative Association that there could be public perception Ms Dennett was using her position to assume a political role.

The letter focused on the late night car-park row in which Tory IW Council leader Cllr David Pugh was captured on YouTube shouting at his then girlfriend, who he subsequently married.

Ms Dennett, who said she intervened to assist Cllr Pugh’s partner, made a number of allegations in the letter, including those of mishandling of the case by council officers.

Ms Dennett this week refused to say why she had made the request, outlined to councillors by the council’s senior information management officer Vanda Niemiec, who set a March 27 deadline for responses.

In her e-mail, Ms Niemiec said searches would be made of e-mail archives of all councillors’ correspondence.

Cllr Pugh said: "It is a matter for Carole Dennett to say why she has decided to go back to an event which happened more than three years ago.

"We have all moved on and it is about time she did too.

"There are more important issues to be addressed, including maintaining services for council taxpayers at a time of austerity."

The IW Council said it was unable to comment on the numbers of e-mails involved, the progress of the trawl or anything else to do with Ms Dennett’s request, due to the requirements of the Data Protection Act.

Reporter: richardw@iwcpmail.co.uk

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