A COUNCIL leader who came under fire after urging people to stay local while on holiday in the Maldives was accused of ‘arrogance’ after refusing to apologise.

Councillor Angie Dale, leader of Richmondshire District council hit the headlines after a press release was issued on January 8 in which she was quoted calling on people to heed the stay local message when she was on holiday 5,000 miles away in the Maldives with her family.

Cllr Dale has repeatedly declined to comment about her trip or answer criticism about the quotes to stay local made in her name in the press release.

On Tuesday evening she made a statement to the full council of Richmondshire District Council. She told members she had not commented previously on her holiday in the Maldives because she felt that the full council meeting was the appropriate place.

She told members: “During my absence a statement was contributed to me as leader of this council in a multi agency press release led by Craven council, with comments attributed to all lead members including myself to reinforce the message from central government to exercise locally. The content of the press release was not discussed with me as I was not contactable, it was done in the leaders name and I was not aware of the content.”

Cllr Dale said the intrusion for her family had been “absolutely devastating” and they had been targeted by trolls. She told members the holiday had been pre planned and they had followed government restrictions including paying for their own Covid-19 tests.

Cllr Dale said she wanted to thank the hundreds of people who had contacted her to offer support and kindness and said she would be making no further comment.

Independent and Green Party leader Cllr Leslie Rowe protested: “The leader will have noted that over 500 fixed penalty notices have been issued to residents of North Yorkshire over the last month, for flouting the Covid-19 stay at home rules. Don’t you think you owe the people of Richmondshire and the members of Richmondshire District Council an apology for making this Council the laughing stock of the country?”

Cllr Dale said she would be making no further comment.

Cllr Richard Ormston added: “Her arrogance that she is in the right is beyond belief, the flack I have had to take about this, why she doesn’t do the right thing and apologise I don’t know.”

Cllr Rowe said in the light of Cllr Dale’s refusal to apologise he would be considering whether to refer her to the standards committee for bringing the council into disrepute.