The very active New Zealand Community Association (New Zealand is a section of the Mackworth ward south of the A38) invited all May 2016 candidates for the Mackworth ward to attend a public meeting, chaired by Lisa Higginbottom, at the Lonny Wilsoncraft Community Centre on April 18th at 7pm. This invite was sent out on March 10th. All candidates accepted except Paul Pegg who, on March 11th replied by stating that ” I will be unable to attend due to a long standing mayoral engagement”.
It is understandable that, regardless of the election timescale, the Mayor’s duties continue, and it is recognised that his “office” is a busy one.
On 8th April, the Mayoral engagements were published for the week commencing 18th April – this showed no event after 2pm.
On 15th April UKIP issued a press release to myself, Derby Telegraph, and Radio Derby which included reference to the fact that the Mayor’s timetable seemed to be clear on the evening of the 18th. To my knowledge this press release was not published anywhere.
By 18th April, and published on the Derby City Council website, an engagement had now been included as “Event at the 3aaa’s County Ground, Nottingham Road, Derby” from 5pm-8pm. Unlike other engagements which are usually very detailed, this was brief and non-specific. A call to the Cricket Club events team on the morning of the 18th confirmed that no meeting was taking place that evening that involved the Mayor ( there was a closed meeting for Member’s only)- this was given by someone who declared herself to be Paul Pegg’s daughter.
An email later that day, to the Ground, was followed with the reply “I’ve checked with the events team and there is no event on tonight with the mayor attending”.
I visited the County Ground just before 5pm on the 18th, and observed Paul Pegg arrive at the ground, in his personal car, driven by himself. After waiting for about 15 minutes a young woman came out of the offices, and got into his car ( she matches the description of his daughter). They then drove off. 45 minutes later, the same car was parked outside his registered address.
I also attended the Public meeting at 7pm, and there was some confusion with respect to the Mayor’s presence.
Cllr Pegg could easily have declined the invitation by being far more straightforward. Why it was necessary to use the privilege of the Mayor’s “Office” to fabricate an event as a “cast iron” excuse for not attending a public debate raises many questions.
I’m sure that the voters of Mackworth Ward will be keen to ask him questions when they next meet him.
Categories: Derby City Council