The Barnstaple councillor accused of sexually harassing women has issued his first statement in response to the allegations.

Devon County Council’s standards committee issued a formal notice of censure against Councillor Brian Greenslade on Thursday, alleging sexual harassment against female council staff over several years.

The 69-year-old Liberal Democrat councillor of 33 years was out of the country at the time of the hearing last Monday, but has now made his first public statement, via his solicitor Jon Dunkley at Toller Beattie.

The full statement said: “An anonymous allegation triggered an investigation into allegations that Councillor Greenslade harassed staff.

“Many of the allegations relate to his work with the Council 10 to 15 years ago. No formal allegations were made at the times of the alleged incidents.

“At the Devon County Council Standards Board meeting on Monday, July 2 the allegations against Councillor Greenslade were considered.

“He was barred from attending the meeting and was effectively prevented from putting forward his response to the allegations by the committee. Indeed the Standards Board arranged the meeting for a time when they knew that Councillor Greenslade was out of the country.

“The Standards Board made its decision despite representations from his solicitors that fairness required his attendance and that there was no detriment to the council to delay the meeting to a later date when Councillor Greenslade was able to attend.

“His legal team are advising him on his challenge to the decision of the Standards Board in that he was not given a fair hearing as required by the Human Rights Act and the council’s own constitution including claims for judicial review and damages.

“In view of potential legal challenge on his behalf his solicitors have asked him to make no further comment at this time.”

The council has said it will not be publishing any details of the alleged sexual harassment incidents which prompted the investigation.

Mr Greenslade lives in Marwood and has been a county councillor for Barnstaple since 1985, a run of 33 years.

He has also been a district councillor on North Devon Council since 1998.