Live updates

Statement from former councillor Graham Brown

In a statement accompanying his resignation to East Devon District Council, Graham Brown maintained that he has not broken the law but had ‘misjudged the situation’. His statement read:

It is with great regret that I have decided today to step down and resign my position as an East Devon District Councillor due to the unbearable media pressure from the Daily Telegraph.

I wish to announce a full apology to my councillor colleagues across the whole political spectrum at East Devon and to the East Devon District Council officers for my disparaging remarks.

I would like to add that I stand by the fact that although I thoroughly misjudged the situation, I remain firm in the knowledge that I have not broken the law and will work to clear my name of any wrongdoing.”

– Graham Brown

Graham Brown resigns from East Devon District Council

An East Devon Councillor, suspended from the Conservative party after being secretly filmed apparently suggesting he can get controversial planning developments passed, has resigned.

Graham Brown has resigned his seat representing East Devon’s Feniton and Buckerell Ward with immediate effect following claims he made to undercover Daily Telegraph reporters. In his resignation statement he cited his reasons as 'unbearable media pressure'.

Earlier today East Devon District Council referred Mr Brown's comments to the police under the Bribery Act 2010 and its own policy on Fraud, Theft and Anti-Corruption, saying that the comments warranted independent examination by the police, who may choose to investigate further.

Although Graham Brown has not been a member of our planning committee his comments still raised serious issues and we have responded to them quickly, firmly and fairly.

Given our earlier referral of the issue to the police I do not wish to comment any further at this stage, other than to reassure the public that we will cooperate fully and openly if the police decide to investigate.

We continue to carefully assess the situation pending a response from the police, and any possible investigation under the Councillor Code of Conduct is on hold until we have that response.

– Mark Williams, Chief Executive of East Devon District Council


Council boss says Police will decide if criminal investigation is called for

Earlier this week we promised to carefully assess comments made by Cllr Graham Brown to undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph and to respond on the powers the Council has to deal with possible breaches of the Councillor Code of Conduct.

Whilst Cllr Brown is not a member of the planning committee which decides on planning applications his claims of being able to influence the system have deeply troubled both the council and the public."

– Mark Williams, Chief Executive, East Devon District Council

Councillor suspended after secret filming

An East Devon Councillor has been suspended from the Conservative party after being secretly filmed apparently suggesting he can get controversial planning developments passed.

In the film, Graham Brown, who runs a planning consultancy, is heard to say "If I can't get planning, nobody will."

Mr Brown insists he always declares his business interests and takes no part in planning decisions. In this interview for ITV West Country he denies he has done anything wrong.

See the secret filming by the Daily Telegraph here

Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of the Conservative group on East Devon District Council said:

"I and other members feel that Cllr Brown has brought himself, the party and council in to disrepute with his comments, and even though his interest as a planning consultant has been declared this does not excuse the remarks he made."