The Conservatives can’t welcome the fact that one of their own is making most of the local headlines once again.

Councillor Penny Jackman lost her temper at an election count and slapped a rival, resulting in him having to undergo dental surgery, costing some £14,000. That a very expensive slap ( and pair of “gnashers”. )

In my view, that should really have been the end of it but of course, the lawyers, operating on a “No win, No Fee” basis want to recover their costs…an eye watering £70,000. It seems that this debt has forced Cllr. Jackman into bankruptcy.

I have no doubt that Cllr. Jackman will be regretting the incident itself and her initial refusal to pay up. It doesn’t suggest she exercised very sound judgement. However, she is not at all a “bad person” and this threat she faces is way, way, over the top in terms of punishment.

For me, it is a reminder of one of the things that is wrong with our legal system. There is no way costs should be allowed to escalate in this way, especially when a case involves somebody of modest means.

I am really not fond of lawyers and would like to see these excesses curbed. Sadly, I don’t see much hope of that happening when so many of our top politicians are also lawyers.

Perhaps the lawyers will show some leniency in this case and settle for a lesser sum. If not, one would hope that her fellow Tories will rally around to help.

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