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Bonkers Blog December 2015

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23 December (Part 3) - Councillor Maxine Fothergill. Bringing ill repute

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reporting one of their associates to the police for theft and as a result his candidacy at a local election had to be withdrawn.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.

The following has just popped up on Bexley council’s website


The Sub-Committee, having considered the evidence in conjunction with the Members’ Code of Conduct…

RESOLVED that Councillor Fothergill breached the following paragraphs of the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct:

1. Paragraph 3(1) of the Members’ Code of Conduct in that Councillor Fothergill’s actions could be perceived by an ordinary member of the public, as conferring an advantage or disadvantage on any person or act to gain financial or other material benefits for herself, her family, friends or close associates.

2. Paragraph 3 (8) of the Members’ Code of Conduct in that, whilst serving in her public post, an ordinary member of the public could reasonably perceive that she had conducted herself in a manner, which could reasonably be regarded as bringing her office or the London Borough of Bexley into disrepute.

SANCTIONS

The Sub-Committee considered the range of sanctions as set out in the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct. The Sub-Committee also considered the factors to be taken into account, as set out in the Members’ Code of Conduct Complaints Sub-Committee Rules of Procedure, prior to determining the sanction(s).

RESOLVED that

1. Councillor Fothergill should undertake training to be arranged by the Monitoring Officer into potential conflicts of interest between her role as a business person and her role as a Councillor; and

2. a recommendation be made to the Chief Whip or the Leader of the Council that Councillor Fothergill be removed from the Appeals Committee for the duration of the Council administration.


In the new year when readers are not so preoccupied with festivities, I’ll let you know what the grapevine says councillor Maxine Fothergill is supposed to have done. Seems outrageous if rumour is true, but then I am not a councillor so uphold different standards to theirs and we all know something of the standards the Code of Conduct Committee’s Chairman adopts.
Awards

Maxine Fothergill may have brought dishonour to her entire industry.

 

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