Dave Browne, Lib Dem Party Secretary threatens legal action against me

From: (s) Thomas Sale
Sent: 19 January 2010 13:56
To: P.Rustad@libdems.org.uk
Subject: Complaint
Dear Paul,
I am hoping you will know who the relevant person is to send this official complaint
I have included at the bottom of this email several correspondences between myself,
max harding, and Dave Browne.
Mr Browne’s silence to my reply, shows me that he was not only referring to myself,
but also that he has no intention of apologising for his insult.
I find his use of language to be most unprofessional,
Surely a regional secretary would not respond in such a threatening and aggressive
to a matter which is merely questioning whether the party is complying with the law,
quite clearly being purely in the best interests for the party.
Because of this I can only assume that he was acting on ulterior motives, not in the
interests of the party.
I would like this complaint to be taken seriously.
Kind regards,
Tom Sale
Membership Development Officer, City of Plymouth Lib Dems
RE: Your Stephen Goldthorp e-mail
(s) Thomas Sale
Sent:   17 January 2010 13:22
Dear Dave,
I am very sorry to hear that this “concerned” member felt the need to make this into
something bigger than it is, by contacting you and not liasing with myself first.
However in response to your points, I did not realise that by quoting legal
legislation and the fact that A) the accounts for years 2007 & 2008 are missing, and
B) stating that Mr Goldthorp was treasurer during that period is defamation. If this
is the case one had better not state that the government went to war in Iraq based
on weapons of mass destruction, even though there have never been any finds of any
such weapons, as this too I fear would count as defamation under your definition.
“These matters occurred before you took office, and therefore should not concern you”
I am very sorry to hear you make this statement, it sounds very elitist, surely any
matter which is of concern to the party is a concern for every member.
As far as the matter being already dealt with, may I remind you to re-read the AGM
minutes, as you have clearly missed the large section which dealt with the concerns
of the members about the accounts and the proposal to have a report written about
it, surely this would imply that the matter is very much a live one, hence my
The “part of the story” that I “have been given” is from what I learnt at the AGM
and also the constitution and the law. Please do correct me but quoting your last
email to me, “Although this is an unusual procedure it is apparently the wish of the
General Meeting, which is the most powerful body of the City of Plymouth Party, and
should be respected.” so, we can be agreed that it is something that is current and
not finished and has also occurred during my office.
Please can you tell me why is it that any one who questions the accounts or any
other potential breach of law is threatened with suspension?
I would like to ask you who you keep refering to in your emails, again you have said
“certain person’s deluded vanity trips” I have said the reasons why i responded in
such a manner, I think it was only in the best interests of our party, and
definately not a vanity trip of mine, and I certainly do not take to kindly to being
refered to as deluded! unless you tell me the name of this “certain person” you keep
refering to, I can only come to the conclusion that you are refering to me without
actually stating it in writing, as my email only relates to my own views. Therefore
I request that you apologise for your insult to me.
“Unless explicitly stated, details in this message do not reflect the opinion of the
Liberal Democrats”
Can you please tell me which parts of your email explicitly state the opinion of the
liberal democrats, as opposed to your personal thoughts?
From: Dave Browne thedavebrowne@aol.com [thedavebrowne@aol.com]
Sent: 17 January 2010 10:57
To: (s) Thomas Sale
Subject: Your Stephen Goldthorp e-mail
Your e-mail of the 16th January, subject ‘Stephen Goldthorp’ has been passed to me
by a concerned member.
Can I make a few points:
1. The matters you refer to were investigated by both the Regional Party’s
Investigator (A former Regional Treasurer) and the Electoral Commission (who police
the PPERA). Both came to the conclusions that there was no action to be taken.
2. Since these matter have been correctly dealt with, your pursuing them could leave
you open to legal action by the person you are defaming.
3. Suspending people in the Liberal Democrat Party is only done in the most extreme
cases where their membership revocation is underway. It must be done formally in
line with the English Party’s Membership Rules Section 7.0. If you have not followed
these to the letter then you could be subject to disciplinary action yourself.
4. These matters occurred before you took office, and therefore should not concern
you, obviously you have only been given part of the story. Beware of people who only
tell you half of the truth for their own ends. The Plymouth Party should be fighting
to beat the Tories and Labour to get Liberal Democrats elected, not trying to
justify certain deluded persons’ vanity trips.
Dave Browne
Secretary, Devon & Cornwall Liberal Democrats
Information in this email is confidential and may be privileged. It is intended for
the addressee only. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender
immediately and delete it from your system. You should not otherwise copy it,
retransmit, nor use or disclose its contents. Unless explicitly stated, details in
this message do not reflect the opinion of the Liberal Democrats. Thank you for your
Dear executive members,
I have been very concerned by the fact that Stephen is part of our executive
committee. I would like to remind you all of what was disscussed at the AGM,
regarding the accounts for the 2007 financial period. Stephen was the treasurer for
that period, and the lack of information regarding the accounts caused a lot of
tension amongst the members. Having read the constitution and also the Political
Parties Elections, and Referendum Act 2000, I am now aware that the party is in
breach of law regarding keeping accurate records of the accounts for a period of 6
years and making these accounts available to the electoral commision. To summarise
Stephen Goldthorp is responsible for the missing accounts and I do not think it very
wise to have him as a member of the executive whilst the accounts are investigated
(decision of AGM) and we do not know whether he is implicated in anything worse.
Therefore as an executive member I think it prudent that Stephen is temporarily
suspended from the executive whilst the accounts are investigated, subject to the
findings of the investigation.
From Dave Browne
Thedavebrowne@aol.com [Thedavebrowne@aol.com]
Sent:   07 January 2010 11:01
maxharding@googlemail.com; karengillard@yahoo.com; jayschofield.uk@googlemail.com
plasticjudy@hotmail.com; rlawrie@hohenlohe.fsnet.co.uk;
stephen_goldthorp@yahoo.co.uk; s.bonar@yahoo.co.uk; (s) Thomas Sale;
rtrimnelluk@hotmail.com; dominicmountain@hotmail.co.uk;
judithjolly@oakleigh.eclipse.co.uk; timandglynisdumper@yahoo.co.uk;
Mr Harding:
I read your extra-ordinary e-mail with some concern – I don’t know who has been
directing you to stir up further trouble, but then I noticed that you had copied
what should have been an internal party e-mail to a firm of London Solicitors.

Since the person you have copied is the pet solicitor of a member of the Plymouth
party who has been suspended pending revocation of his membership, this suggests to
me that you have been acting in concert with a suspended member.
Please reply explaining why you felt this e-mail was necessary and why it was copied
to this London solicitor.
Your reply will be passed to the Devon and Cornwall Region Local Parties Committee
to see if disciplinary action against yourself is required.
Dave Browne
Secretary, Devon & Cornwall Liberal Democrats


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