Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I've Done Nothing Wrong Letter Wrangle: Article-Deselected

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I've Done Nothing Wrong Letter Wrangle: Article-Deselected

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY McKENZIE

A COUNCILLOR has been accused of encouraging another to send a bogus letter to the Evening Gazette's Letters to the Editor column.

The accusation came during a meeting of Middlesbrough Council.

It follows months of speculation about the identity of a mystery writer who has used fake names and false addresses when writing to the Gazette.

Labour councillor Frances McIntyre claimed independent Beechwood councillor Joan McTigue encouraged Barbara Dunne - before she became a councillor - to send the letter under an assumed name and with an address "plucked from the air".

Cllr McTigue, who did not attend the meeting, has denied any wrongdoing.

And she flatly denies she is the mystery scribe who used pseudonyms and random addresses in numerous letters to our Have Your Say page.

She said she had helped Cllr Dunne in the past to write letters but she had not encouraged her to use false names on letters.

Cllr McIntyre told the council she had two letters. One included writing and a drawing indicating how to get to a particular place.

The second letter contained the suggested detail of a letter to the Gazette which criticised Councillor Bob Kerr who at the time was Executive councillor of Environment.

Handwritten on the letter was "Barbara, write this out in your own hand-writing and post it to the Letters Page, Gazette, Borough Road, M/bro.

PS sign any name." Cllr McIntyre said the suggested letter had a random address.

Cllr McIntyre said the first letter was addressed to Cllr McTigue and the writing on both letters linked the two.

She said she accused Cllr McTigue of trying to encourage Cllr Dunne to send a letter to the Gazette using an address picked out of the air and using any name.

Mayor Ray Mallon told the council he would consider whether the matter should be investigated but has since decided no action should be taken.

He said: "I have concluded that if what has been suggested by Cllrs McIntyre and Dunne is correct then Cllr McTigue has shown a serious error of judgement but she has not committed any offence.

"I do not believe any code of conduct has been broken although it would be fair to say the behaviour alleged should be condemned. …

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