May 3rd, 2016

This week we reported that Matthew Symonds was heard to say, twice, that liveaboard boaters were “gits”.

Since we reported this, someone on Twitter asked Mr Symonds if the comments he had made were true. He categorically denied that he would ever say such a thing.

Head to Head

May 3rd, 2016
Matthew Symonds

Matthew Symonds

Matthew Symonds, subject of an allegation that he referred twice to liveaboard boaters as gits has cut his holiday in Holland short to publish this, official, rebuttal.

“Hello Yaz

Yes, I remember you, the good work that you were involved in at the Bristol Wood Recycling project in Bristol and the brief time we met outside the Southville Centre when you and my former colleagues were attending the training session there, but that’s where our memories start to differ I’m afraid.

I’m sure I would have mentioned that my new job was challenging and rewarding – but as I have already stated, the words attributed to me are not ones that I said – it’s not even a term I generally use. I’ve said many times, publicly and privately, that living on the canals can be a great lifestyle – but it’s important to be aware what is involved. We’re also obligated [sic] to fairly apply the rules as set down in the Act of Parliament to all boaters.”

Speculation has been mounting about whether Matthew would do the honourable thing and ‘fess up or entrench himself and call his former colleague a lair. It seems now it is the latter.

The non-seqitur seems a little strange to our ears. You meet a bunch of old colleagues and say “living on the canals can be a great lifestyle  but it’s important to be aware what is involved”. Sounds more like his standard press statement than a casual response to “How’s the new job”.

But he asked us to print his rebuttal so we leave you to draw your own conclusions in this ‘her word against mine’ Mexican standoff.

The full text of Mr Symonds’ reply can be found here:

Matthew Symonds issues denial

May 3rd, 2016

Although holidaying in Holland, Matthew Symonds made time to issue his first denial via Twitter that he called liveaboard boater ‘gits’.

An open letter to Matthew Symonds and CRT

May 2nd, 2016

Following Matthew Symonds’ denial on Twitter that he referred to liveaboard boaters as “gits”, one of the former colleagues who overheard him say so has written the open letter below to Mr Symonds and CRT Customer Feedback. Headed “An Open Letter Re: Article: ‘CRT Relationship Manager: Liveaboards are ‘gits’, K&A Boating Community website, 30th April 2016″, Yaz Brien writes:

Protest at CRT offices 10th May!

May 2nd, 2016

Following the handing in of the Boats are Homes petition to Prime Minister David Cameron and the Boats are Homes march, boaters are invited to join a protest at Canal & River Trust offices in Leeds and its Milton Keynes HQ at 12.00 noon on Tuesday 10th May 2016.

CRT Relationship Manager: liveaboards are “gits”

April 30th, 2016

CRT’s Relationship, Policy and Strategy Manager Matthew Symonds, whose job includes maintaining relationships with boaters, recently described liveaboard boaters as “gits”.

K&A boaters action group meeting, Horton, 9th May

April 28th, 2016

The next meeting of the K&A boaters action group will be on Monday May 9th at 7.30pm in Horton near Devizes.

CRT and BaNES plan mooring strategy for entire River Avon and beyond

April 24th, 2016

Documents obtained by a Freedom of Information request to BaNES Council, and the response to a recent complaint about proposals to restrict mooring at Mead Lane, Saltford, show that BaNES and CRT are planning a mooring strategy for the River Avon and the K&A Canal between Hanham and Limpley Stoke.

Spate of boat burglaries on K&A

April 24th, 2016

In the week to 22nd April 2016 at least five boats on the K&A, at Pewsey and Hilperton, have been broken into. The modus operandi of the thief is very similar to that of Allan Campbell who was jailed in 2013 for a series of boat burglaries on the K&A and elsewhere.

Battlelines drawn

April 22nd, 2016

Nick Brown of NBTA met with CRT yesterday. This is his summary of that meeting.

“Meeting with CRT in MK: Head of Legal (Jackie Lewis), another of the Legal Team (Tom Deards), Head of Boating (Mike Grimes) and Matthew Symonds.

We are still mulling over the conclusions but suffice to say the meeting didn’t go well they conceded very little (if anything).