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Sadiq Khan

Bonkers Blog January 2016

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18 January - Dodging the question. Definitely dodgy dealing

This blog is one of several relating to Bexley Councillor Maxine Fothergill and linked from the relevant Index page. Together they cover five different subjects all related in some way to Ms. Fothergill.

• Some cover her Code of Conduct Committee hearing which resulted in sanctions against Councillor Fothergill. It was alleged that she used her position as Councillor to obtain a financial advantage. viz. that she bought a bungalow from a vulnerable Bexley resident at an advantageous price.
No evidence that Ms. Fothergill paid less than the market price ever came to light and the alleged victim did not make the written complaint necessary to cause a Code of Conduct hearing. When Bexley Council was pressed to provide evidence it could only point to a document written by a Member of its own Code of Conduct Committee, Judge and Jury.
The probability is that the Leader of Bexley Council was unwilling to forgive the fact that Maxine Fothergill had brought down the Leader’s preferred election candidate by reporting him to the police for more than one theft. The sanctions appeared to be nothing but retribution. The Leader of Bexley Council is renowned for her ruthless retribution.
The police issued a caution.
• Others show how she was alleged to have conducted her business affairs in a way that some of her associates considered ethically dubious and have almost no link to Bexley Council.
• Councillor Maxine Fothergill fought Sevenoaks Council over an unauthorised house extension and lost. There is again no Bexley Council link apart from it becoming clear that her main residence is not in the borough
• When a resident requested a Judicial Review of Bexley Council’s refusal to state that it would always comply with the law they managed to convince a barrister that he was taking issue with them over the entirely unconnected issue of the verdict given by the Code of Conduct Committee Committee in the Maxine Fothergill case.
Nothing could be further from the truth and there is documentary evidence to that effect that Bexley Council lied to their barrister.
Nevertheless the barrister persuaded a judge to refuse to hear the Judical Review and Bexley Council, dishonest to the last, billed the resident the cost of hiring their tame barrister.
• Councillor Fothergill was sued for libel and lost.

Mr. Bryant’s question to Bexley Council’s Head of Legal asked how he as a member of the public could perceive that Councillor Maxine Fothergill had brought the council into disrepute when he is not supposed to know anything about her Misconduct.

It was perhaps too philosophical and general a question for Mr. Alabi as any answer he might give could only confirm that Bexley council’s words were carefully chosen in order to mean nothing.

FothergillMr. Alabi has decided to treat the question as a Freedom of Information request which will require the provision of documented facts and allows him 20 days to give an answer instead of only five.

Perhaps Mr. Alabi intends to provide chapter and verse on what Fothergill has done but more likely he will instead refuse to answer his own FOI, leaving Mr. Bryant’s question unanswered.

How is one supposed to have a perception of something which is an unknown?

Whatever Alabi does it is unlikely to confirm anything except that Bexley council has to be secretive because it is corrupt to the very core.

Fothergill conferred a financial advantage on herself, Bexley’s Code of Conduct Sub-Committee has said so, and their verdict was that no meaningful sanction should be applied - and given the restricted range of options that Bexley council allows itself that was almost inevitable.

None of the seven options include referring Fothergill to the police, instead she is to be removed from the Appeals Committee so that she cannot hear her own appeal against the wrist slapping. It has been reported that she is to appeal which implies that she cannot see that abusing her position for financial gain is not immoral, if not downright criminal.

For the record, Mr. Barnbrook’s FOI was as follows…

On 10th December 2015, the Members' Code of Conduct Complaints Sub Committee ruled that Councillor Maxine Fothergill breached the following paragraphs of the Council's Member' Code of Conduct.

Para 3(1) Conferring an advantage or disadvantage on any person, or act or gain financial or other material benefits for herself, her family, friends or close associates.

Please provide details of the advantage or disadvantage, financial gain or other material benefits.

Para 3(8) Conducting herself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing her office or the London Borough of Bexley into disrepute.
Please provide details of the conduct that brought her office or the London Borough of Bexley into disrepute.

Index to related blogs.


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