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Cambridgeshire councillor Ryan Fuller ‘I will be home again soon’

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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.

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He removed any employment – and left the entry blank.

Blank register of interests for Cllr Ryan Fuller

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”.

Declaration of interest in respect of where Cllr Fuller lives has been left blank

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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.

St Ives with Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Cllr Ryan Fuller (second right). East Cambs councillor Bill Hunt (left) and Cllr Anna Bailey are also in the photo.

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.

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

Cllr Fuller, however, says he is going nowhere and told me that “I appreciate your concern but please be assured that I will be home again soon.”

Via email, he wrote: “I am currently visiting family and friends abroad, something I regularly do over the Christmas/New Year period each year.

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

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Attempts to speak to Cllr Fuller had been challenging. His last landline number on public record is no longer in service.

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

“Firstly, I have not had a personal landline number for years, so I suspect the number you have been using to try to reach me is my former 01480 district council number that ceased to exist following last year’s elections,” he wrote.

“Furthermore, I have searched all CCC mailboxes, and I do not have any emails from you at all.

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“There is therefore no possibility that I have read the email you claim to have sent me (the email I sent to Cllr Fuller was marked ‘successful mail delivery report’).

“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”.

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( Wifi coming to town celebrations. Cllr Ryan Fuller with colleagues including then Mayor James Palmer)

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.

“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.

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“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.

 

Huntingdonshire Election Count – Ryan Fuller,
One Leisure, St Ives
Friday 06 May 2022.
Picture by Terry Harris.

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A call to the MP’s constituency office on Friday prompted the response that Cllr Fuller was not available.

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.

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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.

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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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