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Finding Councillor Ryan – still on his Christmas holidays?

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Cambridgeshire county councillor Ryan Fuller – who removed both any home address and occupation from his register of interests last September – will miss tomorrow’s crucial budget setting full council meeting.

He has apologised – in advance – for his absence.

The former leader of Huntingdonshire District Council has insisted he has not left politics or the county council.

Councillor Ryan Fuller met up with representatives from the UK’s largest broadband network – used by customers of the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen - to find out more about their multi-million pound full fibre build, which St Neots (2020) and Ramsey (2021) are already a part of.

Councillor Ryan Fuller met up with representatives from the UK’s largest broadband network – used by customers of the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen – to find out more about their multi-million pound full fibre build, which St Neots (2020) and Ramsey (2021) are already a part of.

Queried by CambsNews last month on why he had removed any reference to his address or work (normal procedure for all councillors) he said was on holiday.

“I am currently visiting family and friends abroad, something I regularly do over the Christmas/New Year period each year,” he emailed me on January 8.

“Never before though has any reasonable person suggested that this amounts to emigrating abroad!

“I appreciate your concern but please be assured that I will be home again soon.”

Cllr Fuller can still be contacted through his council email address but that’s it.

The St Ives North & Wyton Division Conservative councillor was less than enamoured with the reporting of his absence by CambsNews.

“As your new venture is not subject to IPSO adjudication you and I both know that you can more or less write whatever you like without consequence,” he told me.

“However, I have to tell you that your recent article about me is a work of fiction.”

He also denied receiving any emails from me querying his absence (despite my inbox showing they had been delivered).

Cllr Fuller wrote: “I have searched all CCC mailboxes, and I do not have any emails from you at all. There is therefore no possibility that I have read the email you claim to have sent me.

“Unfortunately, what you have chosen to amplify and embellish is a smear concocted by my political opponents prior to last year’s elections, where residents were repeatedly falsely told that I no longer lived locally.

“I’ve heard variations of that smear ever since.”

He added, a month ago, that “I appreciate your concern but please be assured that I will be home again soon”.

“I’m afraid your understanding of declarations is incorrect, and your conclusions about mine are therefore also wrong.”

Three days later, in response to a follow up email, he responded.

“I thought my previous email made it clear, but for the avoidance of doubt, Cambridgeshire is and always has been my home.

The St Ives North & Wyton Division Conservative councillor was less than enamoured with the reporting of his absence by CambsNews.

The St Ives North & Wyton Division Conservative councillor was less than enamoured with the reporting of his absence by CambsNews.

“There is no issue that requires remedying on my register of interests.”

Cllr Fuller added: “Had you played this with a straight bat from the outset I would have been more than happy to go into further detail with you.

“However, given the shameful client journalism that you produced on behalf of my political opponents and the obvious delight you took in launching such a vindictive and wholly untrue attack on me you will hopefully understand why I don’t consider that further interviews or discussion with you would be particularly productive.”

He wrote: “Most journalists would have retracted their untrue statements or at least privately acknowledged some regret at having published fake news (a phrase I really don’t like but it is the only fitting description in this case).

“You may have amended your article, but the damage had already been done and what remains could effectively be headlined ‘Cambs councillor takes annual Christmas holiday’ – an absurd subject for an article that any serious media outlet would be embarrassed to publish.”

BACKGROUND

On September 27, 2022, Cambridgeshire county councillor Ryan Fuller did an unusual thing – which went unnoticed at the time by colleagues.

But it did involve the monitoring officer of the county council who received, and acknowledged, a review entry for Cllr Fuller in his statutory ‘register of interests’ declaration.

And whilst not breaking any law (indeed the council confirmed it is 100 per cent compliant), Cllr Fuller wiped the slate clean.

He removed his address – and left the entry blank.

He removed any employment – and left the entry blank.

The law requires all parish, district, and county councillors to declare “any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain, which you, or your spouse or civil partner, undertakes”.

Cllr Ryan Fuller (glasses) watching the counting at St Ives leisure centre. He lost his seat on Huntingdonshire District Council. PHOTO: Terry Harris

Cllr Ryan Fuller (glasses) watching the counting at St Ives leisure centre. He lost his seat on Huntingdonshire District Council. PHOTO: Terry Harris

Cllr Fuller’s updated revision (he had previously declared details in forms submitted on May 28th, 2021, and as recently as June 13, 2022). But no more.

The law is specific, and Cllr Ryan is following it to the letter, typing his signature on the declaration of interest form rather than, as most do, scrawling a signature.

“There is no legal requirement for the personal signatures of councillors to be published online,” says the 11-page guide provided by the Government.

It also notes that “if you cease to have an interest, that interest can be removed from the register”.

On December 13, he was expected at the full council meeting but sent apologies for his absence.

My inquiries were prompted by a call from a Huntingdon town councillor, who said he had “heard on the political grapevine” that Cllr Fuller had moved to Thailand.

Several other councillors – from the district and county – confirmed they, too, had heard similar reports but no one had seen Cllr Fuller to pose the question.

St Ives with Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Cllr Ryan Fuller and his colleagues

FLASHBACK: Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Cllr Ryan Fuller and his colleagues on a visit to St Ives

“I have heard repeatedly from several sources – including those inside the Conservative Party – that he was intending to emigrate to Thailand,” said one senior, non-Tory, councillor.

“His attendance by the way at county is atrocious since his embarrassment in May.”

The ‘embarrassment’ one assumes to be that of losing his seat – and de facto the leadership – of Huntingdonshire District Council which, after nearly five decades, ceased to be controlled by the Conservatives.

Prior to that election Cllr Fuller listed his occupation as Senior Parliamentary Researcher to Jonathan Djanogly MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA and with a home in Sarah Grace Court, New Road, St Ives.

Last Saturday I emailed Cllr Fuller to ask “are you back in Cambridgeshire yet Ryan and can we arrange an interview please? “.

He is yet to reply.

Cllr Fuller lost his St Ives West seat to Independent Julie Kerr; at the time Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly paid tribute him.

The margin was close at 26 votes, with Julie Kerr polling 423 votes and Ryan Fuller (Con) 397 and Green Party candidate Daniel Laycock receiving 80 votes.

Cllr Fuller fled the count soon after the result was announced and was not there to hear MP Jonathan Djanogly praise him.

The MP visited the election count at the One Leisure Centre, in St Ives, on the day of the count and Cllr Fuller had been a “remarkable leader” and said he had been “extremely surprised” to hear he had lost his seat.

“He has provided such great leadership,” said the MP.

The end of his time at Huntingdonshire District Council also meant the end of his time as the representative on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Prior to the elections he had been one of the ‘gang of five’ calling for Mayor Dr Nik Johnson to resign or step aside in the wake of bullying and accounting allegations.

Trouble for the mayor had been brewing for some time and an investigation had begun in October 2021.

That was the moment an anonymous whistleblowing complaint was made to Cllr Fuller, then a full member of the Combined Authority Board.

The allegations centred around behaviour and the use of a government procurement card, which is used by government and local authorities as a payment card.

Since then, outcomes of the investigation have led to a £750,000 massive overhaul of the Combined Authority that has brought in new ways of working and shaping future strategy.

 

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