I want to thank all the many people who have supported me over the last 24 hours, phoning and sending texts and emails, and posting positive comments on this and other blogs. I have been overwhelmed with how kind people have been and how generous with their support and encouragement at such a difficult time.
Seeing yourself splashed over the papers in a negative story is very painful, as I expect you can imagine and it would have been impossible to handle without the support I have received.
But what concerns me is not the damage to my reputation (I can live with people criticising me for swearing and I have said much worse in my time), it is the damage to our cross-party work in Ethical Governance.
I have worked really hard this year with Councillor Paula Keaveney the LibDem Executive Member for Ethical Governance (who I want to thank for her inclusive approach on this), with the councillors and independents on the Standards Committee -and particularly the chair, Howard Winik, who does a great job for our city. LibDem Cllr Stuart Monckom and I worked on a paper together in his home where he made me very welcome, and I have been meeting fortnightly with a small working group made up of officers and councillors (Cllrs Keaveney, Moore, Eldridge, Mullen and Williams), with the monitoring officer and the deputy monitoring officer, to work on improving the behaviour of councillors and the relationships between councillors and officers.
I think together we have done some really great work and it is my sincerest hope that our efforts are not in vain. I also think we have broken down some barriers between the political parties and proved that we can work together for the common good if we try.
It is a bitter irony therefore that the negative comments I made two years ago about all LibDems and all Liberals have now come back to haunt me. Actually, some of them are okay!
It is obvious that under the circumstances, particularly given the damning editorial in yesterday's Echo, my continuing with the Ethical Governance brief could potentially damage that good work. I would be horrified if our planned presentation to Annual Council about the values we want everyone to embrace, could now be held up to any kind of scorn or ridicule on my account. I don't want the Echo to find anything else to criticise our council standards for.
I am infuriated that a description used by a sitting Tory Prime Minister about his own cabinet is okay for him but deemed unacceptable when I say it, but we are where we are.
So, with great sadness I have decided to stand down from the Ethical Governance Portfolio and from the Standards Committee.
And where better to make that announcement than on this blog?
As to where that leaves blogging politicians, I really don't know, perhaps I will start a separate entry about that next week and see if we can get a sensible debate going.