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Bonkers Blog January 2016

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There is no criticism of Councillor Maxine Fothergill in this blog.

16 January (Part 5) - Hiding their identities

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reporting one of their associates to the police for theft and as a result his candidacy at a local election had to be withdrawn.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

It’s not realistic to expect the minutes of the Code of Conduct Sub-Committee meeting to tell the whole truth but you might reasonably expect them to record everyone who was present, but in Bexley absolutely nothing is honest. Hence the following Freedom of Information request.

The draft minutes of the Members' Code of Conduct Complaints Sub Committee held on 10th December 2015 show the following individuals as being present at the meeting - Councillors Cheryl Bacon, Nigel Betts and Stefano Borella. Also present was Councillor Maxine Fothergill, Councillor June Slaughter, Ms Rebecca Sandhu, Independent Person and Mr Kenneth Atmore, Investigating Officer.

As of Agenda Item 4 - Exclusion of the Press and Public, Councillors Fothergill and Slaughter were not present at the meeting, which can be confirmed by myself, Mr John Watson, Mr Elwyn Bryant, members of the public and Mr Dave Easton.

Mr Akin Alabi, Monitoring Officer, was present at the meeting but is not shown as being so in the draft minutes.

One other female, who was sitting between Mr Alabi and Ms Sandhu is not shown as being present.

There is no reference, in accordance with Section 3.1(f) of the Rules of Procedure, of any representations from Members of the MCSC, the Monitoring Officer and/or the Subject Member, as to whether any part of the hearing should be held in private and/or whether any documents (or parts thereof) should be withheld from the public/press.

Please provide a copy of the minutes containing the correct details, as set out above.

Rebecca SandhuIt has been widely speculated in the past that Rebecca Sandhu is related to the former Conservative Mayor of Dartford making Ms. Sandhu a not very Independent Person. There are also persistent rumours to the effect that Ms. Sandhu did not believe Councillor Fothergill had done anything wrong at all.

Neither of these stories has yet been substantiated.

Index to related blogs.


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