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Cllr Scott Harris proven unfit for public office and must resign

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(Picture: Sarah Standing, The News Portsmouth)

A leaked email recently exposed Portsmouth City Councillor Scott Harris as having an attitude and intentions completely incompatible with public office:

The email shows that Cllr Harris has been scheming to smear people (citizens/activists, councillors, a charity and campaign group) who have protested against the council and in particular, its cuts to services on which those citizens depend.

Harris claimed that other smears were "disgusting" and even admitted to knowing that smearing was totally inappropriate, yet this didn't stop him from then proudly admitting to compiling dossiers of information - with which he intended to smear those who disagree with him. As well as inviting other councillors to join him.

He even went so far as to suggest a county council worker be formally disciplined by their bosses for private activism activity - apparently aggravated by the individual using their right to make Freedom of Information requests to PCC and hostile to the transparency that FoI should offer.

Since being exposed, Harris has apologised to those citizens he intended to harm. He and Council Leader Donna Jones talk of the email causing "offence"; which has now been apologised for. This is at best disingenuous, as is the claim of Harris being naive in conspiring to bully others.

This is not about offence; this is about Harris deliberately targeting citizens he was elected to represent. A man elected to a privileged position, scheming to abuse it in ways he knew to be wrong and intending to completely smear people who disagree with him.

Harris’ behaviour is absolutely outrageous and totally unbecoming of an elected representative – let alone a standing deputy of the council’s standards committee! His behaviour has brought the city into disrepute and very much damaged the image of the Council and Portsmouth Conservatives. Not forgetting the personal harm caused to individuals at the receiving end of such damaging attacks.

Before election in May 2015, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones pledged to "end political mudslinging" and stop “petty politics”. The City's code of conduct for council members is also very clear.

How fortunate it is, therefore, that Harris’ abhorrent behaviour has been exposed and how right it must now be for him to leave the public office that he has so utterly desecrated. This man is clearly not up to the responsibility and trust that the people of Portsmouth placed in him. Resigning is his only opportunity to rescue some dignity and allow everyone to move on from this shameful mess.

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