Statement from Chris Knowles of the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA) in relation to being summarily dismissed from Leeds City Council in the absence of due process due to his political beliefs
My name is Chris Knowles. I was formerly a Director of the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA).
Today I was summarily dismissed from my employment with the Children’s Services Department of Leeds City Council. This follows a suspension that was initiated about seven months ago, as a result of an allegation about me that was published in The Sunday Times.
I intend to initiate proceedings in the Employment Tribunal for Unfair Dismissal, and proceedings for breach of human rights (freedom of expression). I was sacked without any disciplinary hearing and without being told what it is I am alleged to have done wrong.
When I attended Leeds City Council, I was not told I was to be summarily dismissed. There was a Police Chief Inspector who proposed to attend the meeting, but my barrister said that if she remained present then he would also need to be present. The police officer then agreed to leave the meeting.
I still have not been told specifically what I have allegedly done wrong. I believe that the police officer was there simply to intimidate me.
I have been a member of the trade union Unison for approximately seventeen years, but that union refused to represent me, apparently because my views disagree with Unison policy. I was notified of Unison’s refusal just a short time before I was summoned to this meeting, despite their being having been aware of my case for some time.
One would think that it is the job of a Trade Union to defend the rights of its members. Apparently that obligation does not extend to the defence of the right to freedom of expression.
— Chris Knowles