Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

The Miserable Matter Of The Mayor Of Bridport. Prejudice, Lies And Cover Up.

with 13 comments

ros kayes mayor
Ros Kayes is a Liberal Democrat councillor and was made Mayor of Bridport in May 2016.

my FB libDEm resigI resigned from the Liberal Democrats just before the EU referendum because I believed the position the party adopted was a betrayal of fundamental values of liberalism and democracy.  I think it was a perfectly respectable position to take to vote remain and there were questionable tactics on both sides during the campaign. However, the bitter, abusive response to the result by many people, particularly Liberal Democrats, has been quite terrible.

Ros Kayes’ behaviour has been shocking. Even worse, she has been dishonest and has tried to cover up her foolish remarks.

She published this comment on Facebook during 23rd June 2016, the day of the referendum:

ros kayes prejudice

I responded that this was an act of prejudice, discrimination and bigotry, totally against all Liberal Democrat values and was exactly the reason I had resigned.  In return I received these responses:

ros kayes prejudice 2


ros kayes prejudice 3

I have written to Ros, politely asking her to clarify what “unsavoury posts in the last few weeks” and what “unpleasant email to a party member”?  I have no idea what she is talking about and I fear she has invented these angry ripostes.

Anyway, I would have let it lie there until I received a phone call from Rachel Stretton a reporter from the Dorset Echo.

Rachel said she was calling me about a lot of complaints the newspaper had received about Ros Kayes’ Facebook posts concerning the referendum.  I told her how shocked I was at what I’d seen and she told me about a post containing bad language which, at the time. I had not seen. We ended the conversation with me confirming that Ros Kayes’ behaviour had been the final straw in my resigning membership of the party.

I then discovered the very foolish, childish use of foul language that Roz Kayes had published.

ros kayes prejudice 4


I posted on Facebook about what had happened and there was quite a response.  However, I thought it was probably time to let it go.  A lot of people were very upset by the result of the referendum.  I would have been if it had gone the other way.  I think in such circumstances you do have to allow people some leeway.  Many people had been up all night, most had probably been drinking as well.  A few injudicious remarks are inevitable from tired, emotional and upset human beings!

But next thing I received a message from Rachel Stretton backpedalling as fast as she could about what she had asked when she called me.  I was astonished at this! What had spooked the Dorset Echo?  Rachel now said “We have not received any complaints about the behaviour of anyone in the run-up to the referendum. Apologies for any confusion.”

Well hang on a minute, why did she call me in the first place then?  I didn’t even know about use of the ‘F’ word until she told me and she quite definitely approached me about comments related to the referendum.

Rachel then messaged me to say: “I do of course understand if you wish to change any comment you made in light of this. Again for clarification, Ros has made a statement saying her account was hacked and this, private post, was made public inadvertently.”

What?!!  There’s no other way to put this, the Dorset Echo seemed to be involved in helping Ros Kayes to cover up her behaviour. And then I saw the ridiculous article published in the newspaper “Bridport mayor Ros Kayes responds to Facebook post criticism”.

This article is nothing less than insult to the readers of the Dorset Echo and it is a shameful attempt to deceive the electorate.  Not only is Ros Kayes telling lies but the Dorset Echo is assisting her!  This is a stitch up between a local politician and a local newspaper.  There is only one word for it – corruption.  In fact I think the greatest shame is on the newspaper.  So much for a free, independent press.  There are very grave questions to be answered by the editor and I cannot imagine that local businesses will want to be advertising in a paper that is involved in a shabby, corrupt cover-up of a politician’s misdeeds. he story about privacy settings is a story of Ros Kayes own incompetence but the story about her account being hacked is a brazen, bare-faced lie.

Nevertheless, my interest waned again. I was now beginning to learn that Ros Kayes does have an excellent reputation for good work in the community.  I have myself been subject to online attack and trolling which caused me great distress and had a real effect on  my mental health.  There are some very cruel, very spiteful people who use social media to abuse and harass for no reason other than their own perverted self-gratification.  The one comfort I had is that when I was under attack I knew it was all based on lies.  In this instance, Ros Kayes was the one telling porkies, she was responsible for causing the furore and she is tee occupier of a significant public office, one that even comes with official regalia and privileges. There does have to be some accountability.

However, I really didn’t want to take it any further.  This woman obviously does good work and if she’s made one bad mistake, I didn’t want to be vengeful or unkind about it.

Then Ros Kayes responded to my email about her claims of me making “unsavoury posts” and sending an “unpleasant email“.  (She had by now already blocked me on Facebook and Twitter). Oh dear!

My “unsavoury post” (there was only one now apparently) was this one “Why I Am Resigning From the Liberal Democrats“.  Judge for yourself whether there is anything unsavoury about it. My “unpleasant email” was an email about my change of address which I had already notified the party of, which I explained and wrote “So I don’t really know what else I could be expected to do!”. Not very unpleasant in my book.

Ros also wrote: “I certainly don’t think all Brexit voters are racist – many had perfectly sensible reasons for making the decision they did. And my post did not say that all Brexit voters were racist, simply raised fears about the ones that were.”.

So, once again I was ready to let it go. Perhaps it was one error and it could be overlooked.  I was now firmly of the opinion that the more serious matter was the Dorset Echo’s corrupt involvement in a cover up.

And then today, I was provided with a copy of a letter Ros Kayes had published in the Bridport News.

ros kayes letter
This is terrible.

“I fear this election [sic] will be won by those who revel in bigotry. I despair at the number of voters saying ‘I’m not racist but…’ then utter words from the lexicon of Adolf Hitler”

“Please don’t let our country’s future be decided by racist, liars and bigots.”

This is truly terrible. Absolutely unforgivable words from any public figure or politician, particularly one who has the audacity to call  herself a ‘Liberal Democrat’.

Such ignorant generalisations from Ms Kayes are every bit as prejudiced and discriminatory as racism. She is a terrible, terrible hypocrite.

So, despite really trying very hard to pull back from this, in the end I decided that I had to publish this story in full.

I expect Ros Kayes to resign. There seems to be a valid case that perhaps she could stay on as a councillor but her position as Mayor is untenable.

As for the Dorset Echo, this is still the far more serious issue of a corrupt, underhand cover up of a politician’s dishonesty.  It will almost certainly try to bury this story entirely now. Diarmuid Macdonagh, the editor, should do the honourable thing and explain himself.  If he doesn’t, I shall be making a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

13 Responses

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  1. Well done Peter!

    Defoe smith

    June 27, 2016 at 8:30 pm

  2. This, is appalling, please do not let this lie, please do submit your evidence to the Independent press standards, and apply as much pressure as you can to make this hypocrite resign !.

    Lynda Roper

    June 27, 2016 at 9:36 pm

  3. Well done Peter. I am not as versed on the big wide world as you, more a ‘miss marple of st mary mead’.. but when someone has such a reaction in a public place then tells lies, it is troubling. Thank you for defending the honour of the everyday person. It is a shame tha Ms Kayes does not have the same moral fibre and commitment as you. It must have been a pretty lonely place you were in, dealing with this spiteful person. I am sorry that you had to deal with trolls etc. Thank you again for your service

    Marie Holt

    June 27, 2016 at 11:31 pm

  4. Peter, have the Liberal Democrat party acknowledged your complaint and set out a time line for investigation?? A colleague has today chosen to contact the party outside of the route you had suggested because it was suggested in the first instance that the complaint should be dealt with at local level! Honestly, how naive are these people??! Ms Kayes paws will be straight over it!! I will also be in touch with Dorset County Council, as a resident I do not want to be represented by someone who thinks its acceptable to slander millions of good people and obviously has a hidden agenda.

    Mike W

    July 4, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    • This is the reply from Liberal Democrats HQ. I have also made a complaint to West Dorset District Council:

      Dear Mr Reynolds,

      Your complaint has been passed as per Party Policy to the local party for it to be addressed.


      Ms Tarrant

      Peter Reynolds

      July 4, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    • Oh right so the actual Liberal party do not want to know and pass it back to the very person who it concerns…smart move.

      Marie Holt

      July 4, 2016 at 9:48 pm

  5. And now they are posting smear about Peter, a pretty awful deflection as this is about the Mayor/Elected Politician flaming the bigotry that she alleges to stand against!!!!!! You couldn’t make this up!!! I’m aware of people saying its just typical Ros putting her foot in her gob yet again and shrugging their shoulders. But to quote one “highjacking what happened to that poor young mother in yorkshire for her own purpose and then spouting crap that she is a fighter of bigotry and racism after how shes behaved! No way, she has to go, people like her are dangerous for democracy and decency” (formal complaints raised I understand!!!!)

    Mike W

    July 6, 2016 at 9:01 am

  6. The Chair of West Dorset Liberal Democrats, Andy Canning, has now rejected my complaint against Ros Kayes with the sort of dishonest whitewash which I expected. I reproduce his email below.

    To my mind this confirms that, in West Dorset at least, the Liberal Democrats are rotten to the core and corrupt.

    If Mr Canning wishes to challenge my description of him and his party in the courts, I would welcome the opportunity to see the evidence considered by an impartial and rational judge.

    From: Andy Canning []
    Sent: 05 July 2016 17:24
    Subject: Complaint Concerning Ros Kayes

    Dear Peter Reynolds

    As Chair of West Dorset Liberal Democrats I have been passed your complaint and asked to investigate and respond on behalf of the local party.

    The initial part of your complaint concerns a letter from Cllr Ros Kayes published in the Bridport News. You allege that the letter effectively stigmatises all Leave voters as being ignorant, bigoted and racist. I have read the letter again and again and I cannot see how any reasonable person could come to that conclusion.

    To quote from her letter, “I fear this election will be won by those who choose to remain ignorant‎ and those who revel in bigotry.” At no point does Cllr Kayes say that this means all Leave voters or even a significant number of them. To deny that some voters were voting Leave because they had a racist attitude towards immigrants or that those fears were stoked up by the Leave campaign, especially a certain poster promoted by Nigel Farage, would fly in the face of the evidence.

    To carry on and again I quote from the letter, “I utterly despair at the number of voters saying ‘I’m not racist but….’ and then uttering words that could be straight from the lexicon of Adolf Hitler. ‘These dirty ‘Muslims, ‘Poles’, ‘Lithuanians’, ‘Romanians’ they come here and steal our jobs’. Substitute the word ‘Jews’ and we all know where that leads.” Undoubtedly Cllr Kayes was speaking from the personal experience gained by anyone who did any canvassing or took part in a street stall or even simply listened to conversations in the street. These sorts of comments were not rare and to ignore them or to allow them to go unchallenged would definitely be encouraging to racism and bigotry.

    Since the Referendum the incidence of hate crime has increased by 57% according to the National Police Chiefs Council, see It would therefore seem to me that Cllr Kayes’ letter was entirely reasonable as a political comment on the Leave campaign and as a warning about what pandering to racism and bigotry would lead too.

    You then go on to refer to the message sent out on social media on the early morning of June 24th. Undoubtedly Cllr Kayes was upset by the Referendum result and responded in a way that reflected her sense of anger and hurt. I am sure many Remain campaigners could empathise with her emotions and would understand her reaction. However, in the cold light of day the comments went too far and Cllr Kayes has accepted this by apologising – “I am really sorry if it caused anyone offence” – in both the Bridport News and Dorset Echo.

    You then go on to challenge Cllr Kayes’ version of events. It is quite clear that this message was intended as a private comment and not to be sent to a public audience.

    Cllr Kayes believes that her settings were changed as she had difficulty entering her account the previous day and came to the conclusion that her settings had been changed by someone else. Whether this is the case is clearly a matter for the police and she naturally reported it. Cllr Kayes’ actions in speaking with the police are entirely consistent with her comments and there is no reason to question her version of events.

    In conclusion, we find that Cllr Ros Kayes has no case to answer and should continue in her role as Bridport’s Mayor.


    Cllr Andy Canning

    Chair, West Dorset Liberal Democrats.

    Peter Reynolds

    July 6, 2016 at 9:12 am

  7. To my mind Ms Kayes is the worst kind of politician. She highlights all that’s wrong with todays councillors and MP’s. Lying and justifying what she said ‘because she was hacked’ As usual the comman man is contemptly dismissed.

    Marie Holt

    July 6, 2016 at 11:42 am

  8. Wow!!!! Who would of thought that Ms Kayes mate would cover her backside! The party has gone to the dogs!! Really-asking a mate and colleague to impartially investigate conduct and behaviour???? I presume Peter, you will take it above local level as the complaint is seriously compromised by andrew canning???
    This fella also seems to hold the same divisive views of Ros Kayes, way to go for insular self serving representation – “warning about what pandering to racism and bigotry would lead to”. So there it is, the idiot also thinks that anyone that excercised their legal and democratic right to vote leave-including Bridport residents, Lib Dem members-you are all tarred with the same brush. Peter, you may know-does andrew canning and the Lib Dems make the decision about who is Mayor……wow, canning, the farce continues!!!!!!!!!!

    Mike W

    July 6, 2016 at 1:30 pm

  9. Mike W the council is made up of mostly Lib Dems and they voted her as Mayor…

    Marie Holt

    July 6, 2016 at 10:08 pm

  10. I cant see anywhere Peter in that woeful response from Ros’s best mate (you couldnt make this up!!!!!) Andy Canning that says theyve looked at Lib Dems code of conduct and found that she did/didnt break it??!! Its just Cannings opinion because if you look at Lib Dems national website she’d get (rightly so!!!) suspended-her behaviour toward you would see her gone for bullying. Hope you dont leave it there, this is a stinking cover up!!! You seen that trash article in Bridport News? Real nepotism between greens/local paper/lib dems

    Mike W

    July 8, 2016 at 7:29 am

  11. Shes at it again this morning in the Dorset Echo!!! More spin n lying!! There must be an alterior motive with this that goes way beyond what we know. Anyone else would have a bit of dignity about themselves and stand down fornthe good of the community the lib dems and bridport council!! Just what is it they are all trying to hide/circle around??? Is it because she could get in real trouble over what appears to be fabrication of her story and wasting police time???!! More to this now than meets the eye…..the sordid bigot of bridpot saga continues

    Mike W

    July 10, 2016 at 12:26 pm

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