Cllr Tony Hooke with UKIP Branch Secretary Liz Ferla at a Breakers Fundraiser
Hampshire County Councillor Tony Hooke (UKIP) is at the centre of another storm that has prompted official complaints to the Council regarding his conduct.
Earlier this week, Cllr Hooke used his own Facebook Page to post an attack on Andover Town Councillor David Drew (Conservative), the ex Hampshire County Councillor, whose seat Cllr Hooke took in the last Hampshire County Council elections.
The post, which can be seen in full below, was an attack on the local Conservative Party, and referred to Cllr Drew as ‘Daisy Drew’ and went on to say that his position as Chairman of Allotments within Andover Town Council was ‘a high powered position for someone of Daisy’s ability’. The post continues suggesting Cllr Drew should ‘consider getting a real job’. Cllr Hooke added, as a comment to the post, a picture of Cllr Drew’s face and asked ‘Would you trust him to run your allotment?’
Andover Town Councillor, Andy Fitchett, brought Cllr Hooke to task on the Facebook post, imploring him to ‘attack the politics and not the person’ and was himself personally attacked aggressively by Cllr Hooke. Shortly after, all posts published by anyone disagreeing with Cllr Hooke were removed by him.
Andover & Villages spoke to a very civil and polite Cllr Hooke and asked him why he felt it necessary to be so aggressive towards other politicians, both in the press and on social media, to which he said, “I make no apology for the way I come across, because I am angry. I am really angry, and have tried to be quiet and get on with the job, but no one will listen or agree to enter into any dialogue with me or my colleague Cllr Tim Rolt (UKIP). I want to enter into dialogue with Cllr Ian Carr, Leader of Test Valley, but he refuses to meet with me or Cllr Rolt.
“Both Cllr Rolt and I have attempted to be a part of the Test Valley Borough Council surgeries on a Saturday morning, but they wont let us in, although they invite Cllr Pat West, who is also a Hampshire County Councillor and not a Test Valley Borough Councillor.”
Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Cllr Ian Carr, told Andover & Villages, “With only 2 Hampshire County Council Councillors willing to attend, attendance became onerous so the system was changed to make it easier for them to have an input.
“The system now is that HCC councillors do not attend on a regular basis but attend only when requested by Sir George to help when HCC have involvement in cases on his appointment list. The only duty councillors are from the Borough Council. The surgery is a Borough Councillors’ Surgery paid for by Test Valley Borough Council. The Councillors’ invite Sir George to attend the surgery. In turn Sir George is able to invite HCC Councillors to attend his surgery if he requires help with certain cases. The notices outside the surgery venues reflect this arrangement.
“Under these arrangements HCC Councillors do not have a right to attend the surgeries but they can, if the so wish, be added to Sir George’s list to be called on for HCC case consultation as they arise. They would need to contact Sir George’s secretary in order to be added to the list.”
Andover & Villages asked Cllr Hooke if it was reasonable to call another adult a name, such as ‘Daisy’. He said, “I make no apology for calling him that. Even the other Conservative Councillors refer to him as Daisy – ask the Mayor Cllr Jan Lovell and Cllr Phil North. They both call him that.”
Andover & Villages spoke to both the Mayor and Cllr North, and both denied ever referring to Cllr Drew as anything other than David or Cllr Drew.
The Hampshire County Council’s Code of Conduct for Councillors states:
Part 4, Appendix A – Councillors Code of Conduct
3.14 Always treating all people and organisations with respect and propriety.
3.15 Providing leadership through behaving in accordance with these principles.
The offending post was removed by Cllr Hooke 48 hours after its initial publication. Hampshire County Council is unable to comment or confirm if Cllr Hooke was instructed to remove it, after receiving written complaints about the content of the initial posts and the following comments.
Last week, an impersonator set up a fake account for Hampshire County Councillor, Tony Hooke, posting to the Andover & Villages facebook page with rants, meant to ridicule Cllr Hooke, such as: ‘I have been working very hard to get more shops in town. However, I have failed sorry’.
The offending posts were removed as quickly as they were posted, but the account has continued to post across various pages, including Cllr Hooke’s own.