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Bonkers Blog December 2015

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There is no reference to Councillor Maxine Fothergill in this blog.

8 December (Part 2) - Open and transparent? I don’t think so

The blog below is one of around 40 relating to Bexley Councillor Maxine Fothergill and Bexley Council’s Code of Conduct Committee. It took that many blogs to at first factually report what the Code of Conduct Committee had decided and then unravel the truth.

More than a dozen Freedom of Information requests eventually led to the conclusion that Councillor Fothergill had been the victim of a plot by senior Bexley Councillors to discredit her and the fact that she spotted a business opportunity while canvassing for the Tories was just a convenient hook on which to hang her out to dry.

It took two months of enquiries for Councillor Fothergill’s innocence (link) to become virtually certain and for the suspicions based on Bexley Council’s assertions to evaporate. Eventually innocence was proved (link) beyond reasonable doubt.

This note aims to make it clear that the events reported between December 2015 and the Summer of 2016 whilst accurate reflections of various events, disciplinary hearings and sanctions brought against Councillor Fothergill they are individually insufficient to explain the whole story.

The most convincing explanation for the vendetta against Councillor Fothergill is that the Tory High Command in Bexley had taken their revenge because Councillor Fothergill embarrassed them by reporting one of their associates to the police for theft and as a result his candidacy at a local election had to be withdrawn.

It was imperative that Councillor Fothergill was taught a lesson.

For reasons that are hard to fathom, in December 2017 Councillor Fothergill decided that the defence of her position which unfolded on this blog over several months was criminal harassment in spite of the fact that without it everyone who read the report on Bexley Council’s website would continue to believe she had been genuinely guilty of breaching their Code of Conduct.

Councillor Fothergill reported the blogs to the police and Sergeant 11901 Robbie Cooke at Swanley Police Station failed to conduct any investigation whatsoever and ludicrously decided that there was a case to be answered in the Magistrates’ Court. Fortunately the Crown Prosecution Service had more sense.

Collecting information, taking pictures and writing the blog requires that time is juggled efficiently and today I got it wrong. One of the research jobs took longer than anticipated and my doctor surprised me by offering a same day appointment. And this evening there is another Scrutiny meeting to attend.

There is a public council meeting on Thursday morning too. The Members’ Code of Conduct Complaints Sub-Committee. They are usually cancelled because no one can be bothered to make a complaint about a councillor any more. I tried once and when councillor Craske was caught out he fabricated a new excuse which was allowed.

These days the Committee is run by councillor Cheryl Bacon whose name is right now in front of the Crown Prosecution Service’s Special Case Unit and councillor Nigel Betts who would like to prevent the taking of photographs in the council chamber, even though that would be illegal. Just the sort of people you would expect the OBE (Overlooking Bacon’s Errors) to choose to set standards in Bexley.

However on Thursday the almost unprecedented is in prospect, a councillor is to face Bacon and Betts to answer a complaint at a public meeting.

Except that this public meeting is going to be held in private. Of the 204 pages in the Agenda, all but eight are blank.
In camera
RestrictedThe only possible purpose in a member of the public showing up is to note who goes into Public Gallery East. As well as the aforementioned rogues, Stefano Borella is on the committee. Anyone else will be coated in Teflon or tar and feathers dependent on their political allegiance.

In almost every court of justice in the land the mantra is that justice must be seen to be done. But not in Bexley where they prefer to hold private meetings that will “resolve the situation”.


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