A HAMPSHIRE councillor has succeeded in his fight to overturn a ruling which threatened to ruin his political career.

Cllr Peter Chegwyn was banned from being a councillor for two years after voting to block a Gosport Borough Council debate about his Stokes Bay music festival in July 2008.

An adjudication panel for the Standards Board for England said he was guilty of breaching codes of conduct by not declaring a personal and prejudicial interest in the vote.

But Cllr Chegwyn, who admitted the breaches, had already apologised in written letters to his constituents in the Hardway area of Hampshire County Council and Leesland ward of Gosport Borough Council.

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The effect of the punishment was that he was kicked off the county council, which was not involved in the controversy and to which he had been voted back to the Hardway ward just a month earlier.

Now a High Court judge has set aside the panel’s punishment and substituted a two-month suspension from Gosport only.

Mr Justice Collins said that, although Cllr Chegwyn was a “very silly man” for doing what he did, his mistake did not justify a punishment as severe as disqualification.

Complaints had been made after Cllr Chegwyn, a councillor for 26 years, took part in a vote about whether some details of his not-for-profit festival should be discussed at a council meeting.

Cllr Chegwyn is director of the popular Stokes Bay festival, near Gosport, which last year included The Zutons, The Saw Doctors and The Proclaimers among its top performers.

He always denied putting personal interest above public when he decided to vote on the procedural motion which prevented the council discussing it.

He said he stood to make no personal gain from his actions, that there was no loss to taxpayers and that, if he did not take part in the vote, and the festival had to be scrapped, there was a danger that local businesses could lose out.

Cllr Chegwyn will be free to run for election again later this year.