A business owner has accused a senior council figure of “hiding behind political privilege” after they failed to apologise for calling him a “liar”.

Peter West, a spokesman for the St Clements' business group, wrote to Oxfordshire County Council’s monitoring officer last December to complain about councillor Andrew Gant’s conduct in public office.

Mr West has accused the cabinet member for highway management of not acting with “integrity and honesty” after Mr Gant told councillors on November 29 last year that restaurateur Clinton Pugh and hotelier Jeremy Mogford had lied.

READ MORE: Labour Party councillor suspended for 'breaking the rules'

Mr Gant told councillors that Mr Pugh and Mr Mogford had lied about him not taking the time to meet them before the LTNs were installed.


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Low-traffic neighbourhood bollards were installed in May 2022 and the initiative was made permanent in Cowley in July 2022.

The LTNs aim to reduce through traffic and make neighbourhoods quieter.

Mr Pugh, the father of Hollywood actress Florence Pugh and the owner of Café Coco and restaurants Kazbar and Café Tarifa, hit out against Mr Gant in Tuesday’s council meeting over his repeated refusal to apologise for accusing him of lying.

Oxford Mail: Clinton Pugh outside of his restaurant on Cowley RoadClinton Pugh outside of his restaurant on Cowley Road (Image: Ed Nix)

Mr Pugh has been a fierce critic of the low traffic neighbourhoods and recently put a 1984 themed George Orwell banner up outside his restaurant, which accused Oxford City Council of censorship.

READ MORE: Oxford Traffic filters: Major details hidden from public

Mr Pugh said he told councillors back in November that “not one councillor has ever bothered to come and ask me what I think or what I think would happen if they carried on and did the LTNs on the Cowley Road.”

He explained to councillors: “Andrew Gant stood up and accused Jeremy Mogford, Peter West and I of lying to you all.

“This was not true.

“He never came to see me before anything was done on the LTNs.

“Complaints have been made by Peter West on numerous occasions via email.

“We have only just heard back today that it has been completely ignored.

“I did not lie, and I would like an apology from Andrew Gant.”

Speaking in November last year, Mr Gant told councillors: “They both know that I attended meetings that they were previously at.

“So that statement was, and I use the word advisedly, a lie.”

Mr Gant was approached for comment and has said he would not like to comment.

Oxford Mail: Mr Gant accused Mr Mogford below of lyingMr Gant accused Mr Mogford below of lying (Image: Ed Nix)

Mr Pugh has said it remains the case Mr Gant did not take the time to meet before the LTNs were installed.

He said his first meeting with Mr Gant only took place in October last year at a meeting of St Clements' business owners after LTNs were already having a detrimental impact on business.

READ MORE: Oxford restaurant owners: 'We have been ignored' over LTNs

Responding to Mr West’s complaint, the monitoring officer Anita Bradley said that even if Mr Gant’s “opinion is inaccurate and offensive to another individual” it was not a “reason in itself to restrict councillor Gant’s comments”

She said they were “made in response to the public as part of political debate which benefits from enhanced protection afforded to political debate”.

Ms Bradley said Mr Gant’s decision to accuse Mr Pugh and Mr Mogford of lying was part of the “cut and thrust of political debate for which a higher threshold of seriousness is applied.”

Ms Bradley has decided not to take the complaint any further.

Oxford Mail: Clinton Pugh rolling out anti-LTN bannerClinton Pugh rolling out anti-LTN banner (Image: Ed Halford)

Mr Pugh has said Mr Gant’s refusal to apologise shows a “lack of respect for ordinary citizens in the eyes of this local government” and he accused the cabinet member of “hiding behind his political privilege with no respect for the truth”.

Mr Mogford, the owner of Old Bank Hotel in High Street and Old Parsonage Hotel in Banbury Road, said Mr Gant should be “big enough to apologise as we all make mistakes”.