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Typing error leads to Conservative election plans landing in opposition’s inbox

By Rich_Booth  |  Posted: February 13, 2013

Conservative County Council leader John Hart's email on Devon's Conservatives election plans wound up in the hands of the opposition after an email was sent to a satellite consultant in Hampshire

Comments (4)

A Devon Conservative County Council leader has had an email intended for members of his party read by every Devon County Councilor following a typing mistake.

Conservative County Council leader John Hart’s email on Devon's Conservatives election plans wound up in the hands of the opposition after an email was sent to a satellite consultant in Hampshire.

Alan Hughes received the email from Conservative councillor for Exmouth, Halsdon and Woodbury Bernard Hughes and decided as a punishment for the mistake to forward it to every member of Devon County Council.

Bernard Hughes has blamed the error on pressing “the wrong button”.

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In the leaked email, which was discussed in today’s cabinet meeting, Mr Hart briefed councillors and candidates on the budget, he writes:

"We have a large majority on each of the Scrutiny committees, provided all members turn up..."

"I would rather not have Lib Dem recommended changes to the budget being passed as they will definitely become Election issues in less than 12 weeks.”


"We have run Devon County for four years and only increased Council Tax by 1.98%, a very good sound bite for every parish council meeting you attend".

Mr Hart finished the email with a warning to members on Conservative Party campaign material:

"Any candidate wanting to print their own leaflets can do so but Either Lucille Baker or I need to see the Copy before printing,"

"I want no promises made by a candidate that we cannot keep, we will only play into the hands of the opposition parties.

"Keep your leaflets positive, ignore the other parties. Let them do what they like - answer them and you will find people looking to see what was originally said."

The full revised budget meeting will be available to view on thisisexeter.co.uk later today.

Read more from Exeter Express and Echo

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  • Exonian  |  February 13 2013, 8:59PM

    Bit of a non story really. It's not as if the email contained any staggering political admission or revelation of dirty tricks - just standard hum drum party politics stuff. Office_dee - do such disclaimers have any basis in law? In any event, this email was from an elected official; if he was using a publicly funded facility then we, presumably, have a Freedom of Information right to see it anyway. If it was sent from his own personal email account I doubt it would include a disclaimer.

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  • eyeopener  |  February 13 2013, 2:33PM

    @Office_dee Alan Hughes may well have viewed it as spam and acted accordingly. or indeed he may as Bernard Hughes apparently did blame the error on pressing "the wrong button" (A few times!). This may be an episode that Bernard Hughes might prefer to forget, rather than remind us all of it yet again by instigating proceedings.

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  • Jungle_Jim  |  February 13 2013, 2:01PM

    And is it correct use of official email?

  • Office_dee  |  February 13 2013, 1:45PM

    I thought the disclaimer of the bottom of emails - if he uses one, stipulates "This e-mail and any attachments are strictly confidential and intended for the addressee(s) only. If an addressing or transmission error has misdirected this e-mail and you are not the intended recipient, or a person responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you are not authorised to and must not disclose, copy, distribute, print or retain this message or any part of it. The views or opinions expressed in this email are not necessarily those of XXX and the company, its directors, officers or employees make no representation or accept any liability for its accuracy or completeness unless expressly stated to the contrary. This email and any attachments are believed to be virus free and no responsibility is accepted by XXXX for any loss or damage arising in any way from the receipt or use thereof." Therefore Alan Hughes had no right (if B Hughes used this type of disclaimer) to forward the email!