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Worthing councillor ‘abuses power’ trying to get into New Year's Eve party
A councillor has apologised for threatening to boycott a pub after being turned away from its New Year’s Eve party – despite asking: “Do you not know who I am?”
Worthing borough councillor Vicky Vaughan asked The Wandering Goose in Marine Parade, Worthing, to let her in for free even though it had a strict ticket-only policy after 6pm on December 31.
After a manager refused her entry, the Conservative councillor, who is also vice chairman of Worthing Borough Council’s licensing committee, resorted to writing: “I swore I would never say – do you know who I am – but this is important”.
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With the private conversation being posted online under the headline of “tickets are in demand – even ‘important’ people resorting to bribery”, residents have reacted angrily to the apparent abuse of a public position.
But the Tory councillor has told The Argus she apologises for the comments which she claims were taken out of context.
Coun Vaughan said: “I’m disappointed that private messages were printed this way. I was not trying to get a free ticket but just wanted to go in for an hour or half an hour before we had dinner at Brio Pizzeria [next door] at 9pm.”
She added: “It’s just not my style and I’m very cross with myself.”
A post in the pub’s name on Facebook said: “It was a bit surprising to be put in a position where someone was using their public role to put me in a position where I felt compelled to grant the request, but I’m not like that.
“It is, unfortunately a sad reflection of all political positions, whatever the level, that power (however small) affects people.”
Writing in response, Coun Vaughan, who has lived in the town since 1997, said: “I support businesses that treat customers fairly and don’t reprint customers’ texts out of context.”
Following the Facebook post, Alex Culvert wrote: “She holds a public office, she is a disgrace and an embarrassment to us all.
“Asking a landlord to break the rules and have extra people in his pub is totally shameful.”
Stephanie Hurst added: “Actually in shock reading this.”
The pub, which opened in November, is run by Nathan Wright, former landlord of The Geese Have Gone Over The Water in Southover Street, Brighton.
Worthing Borough Council leader Paul Yallop told The Argus: “I certainly would not condone somebody in public office expecting any favours.”
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