The councillor that quit in the wake of the controversial decision by Pembroke Town Council not to remove a portrait of a disgraced ex-mayor has said that he could no longer be associated with a ‘group of individuals’ who do not listen to the public they are supposed to represent.

13 out of 15 councillors voted to keep a portrait of ex-mayor and convicted child rapist David Boswell on display at their meeting last Thursday, rejecting to get rid of the portrait permanently, instead deciding to keep the image on display but with it turned around instead, with his name on the back.

Mr. Boswell was jailed for 18 years in 2018 for historic child sex offences pre-dating his time mayor and as a county councillor.

Both councillors Jon Harvey and Aiden Brinn voted for the removal of the picture, however those voting for it to be kept on display, but turned around were: Mayor, Gareth Jones, Linda Asman, Jon Nutting, Dennis Evans, Melanie Phillips, Adrian Cooke, Linda Brown, Keith Nicholas, Aaron Carey, Jonathan Grimes, Daphne Bush, Rosemarie Blackburn, and Clive Collins.

On the back of the decision, councillor Jon Harvey tendered his immediate resignation from the town council, and walked out of the meeting, stating later that his decision to quit was no means pre-planned.

“Following concerns expressed by residents just over a month ago, I emailed the Town Clerk (copied to all Town Councillors) expressing my view that the photograph of the former Mayor on public display in the Town Hall should be taken down,” explained Clr. Harvey who will still remain as County Councillor for the Pembroke St. Mary North Ward.

“I also supported a request for an Extraordinary Meeting in order that a speedy decision could be made. Including myself, only two Councillors supported this idea, with five needing to do so for the meeting to take place. As a consequence, the matter rolled on to the meeting of the Town Council held on February 13.”

Clr. Harvey said that he attended the meeting convinced that ‘common sense would prevail’, and that there would be a realisation that a ‘grave error of judgement’ had been made and that the photograph would be removed out of empathy for and as a mark of respect to the survivors of Mr. Boswell’s most ‘heinous crimes’.

“In this respect the current Mayor, Clr. Jones put forward a motion that the photograph be removed for the life of this Council and I tabled an amendment that it be kept down for a significantly longer period (60-100 years) and all images of the former Mayor be removed from the Town Councils Facebook page,” he continued.

“As the debate continued it became clear that many of those councillors present were more concerned about the former Mayor’s place in history, as well as attacking the member of the public who initially raised the matter on social media.

“The inference being "how dare a member of the public raise a matter publicly!" Next up it was the turn of the press to be criticised for publishing the story and quoting the member of the public in the article.

“Clr. Nutting (once he had finished giving his little lecture) then put an alternative motion forward that the photograph remain hanging up but turned around with the former Mayor’s name displayed on the back.

“I requested a recorded vote on this (in order that the names of who voted for and against would be a matter of public record). Following this vote this motion was approved with only myself and Clr. Aden Brinn voting against. Despite being assured by the Mayor that there would be an opportunity to vote on the original motion, following the vote on Clr. Nutting’s proposal, I was then told this could not happen.

“Whilst I will always respect a democratic vote on any issue, this decision of the overwhelming number of Town Councillors was one I could not subscribe to given the clear strength of public opposition.

“I am not aware of any member of the public supporting the retention of the photograph in situ, either facing out or turned around. I am sure there are no pictures of Jimmy Saville facing the wall in Stoke Mandeville Hospital or Hitler hanging in the Reichstag!

“Members of the Town Council seem more concerned with history, attacking a member of the public and attacking the freedom of the press than actually grasping the simple concept the the public do not want this photograph on the wall.

“Whilst they may claim they represent the electorate, this decision, in my opinion shows they clearly do not. For the above reasons, and as a matter of principle, I tendered my resignation with immediate effect following the vote. I do not want to remain part of a Town Council that does not represent the views of the electorate, shows no understanding of the importance of this matter to the public and does not believe in press freedom,” he added.

The fallout of the decision has seen Pembroke Dock Town council lambasted on social media by members of the public and the likes of Clr. Paul Dowson, who represents Pembroke Dock Central ward, remark “this ceremonial group in Pembroke have disgraced themselves again.”

News of a protest being organised at Pembroke town hall for Monday (February 24) at 12 noon, has been circulated online, calling for the town council to take down a picture of a paedophile and replace it with a plaque in honour of the survivors; whilst an online petition, calling for the removal of the portrait, has also been set up at: