The leader of Kingston Council has sent a letter of apology more than 60 days after he called a sixth former an “appalling little child”.
James Giles, 17, a community activist and pupil at Coombe Sixth Form, attended a council meeting in January and asked leader Kevin Davis if his son’s new job was a “conflict of interest” for a councillor.
Councillor Davis’ son had recently been hired at CNM Estates, a prominent developer with numerous builds in the borough, including Tolworth Tower and Gala Bingo Hall.
The council leader himself worked at Cratus from 2009 to 2015.
Mr Giles then tweeted about his question, to which Cllr Davis responded: “What an appalling little child you are.
“Who the hell do you think you are dragging my family into your vile conspiracy stories?
“I would hope that when you grow up you might realise how disgusting this is, sadly I doubt it.”
After the incident, more than 2,000 signed a petition calling on the leader to resign.
Although Cllr Davis released a statement afterwards, many felt it was not sufficient as an apology.
It read: “I am a father first and politician second.
“This past weekend my son was used as a political tool to attack me on social media, and I reacted in a way that any father would; I defended my son’s right to privacy.
“In doing that I let my passion get the better of me and I attacked the author.”
However, the leader sent a letter, dated March 27, to both Mr Giles and his mother.
It read: “I am writing to offer you both a sincere apology for the manner in which I responded to James’ tweet of the 25 January 2018.
“My behaviour was unacceptable and I should not have used abusive and unacceptable words in the context of responding to what was a reasonable request for information.
“I deeply regret my actions.
“I also wish to apologise for failing to convey this full apology both earlier and in a personal manner.
“Whilst I did publish an apology I accept that it was open to interpretation as being less than a full apology and it was not conveyed directly to you.
“The behaviour I exhibited is not something I would expect from others and therefore I have no excuse for the manner in which I responded.”
In response, Mr Giles said: “I have finally received a personal apology from Cllr Kevin Davis from what he now accepts was a ‘reasonable request for information’.
“He agrees that his language was ‘abusive and unacceptable’ and, supposedly, ‘deeply regrets’ his actions.
“I would like to thank everyone for their support over these past few months – including over 2,000 people who signed the petition calling for Cllr Davis to resign.
“There are elections in a month, and I’m sure voters will remember this outburst, which was not his first towards residents, however was his first towards a minor – although that changes in a mere six days.
“Sadly for Cllr Davis, whilst a pleasant surprise to receive this apology, I fear that this apology comes only after public pressure and is not genuine and heartfelt.”