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Bonkers Blog January 2016

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18 January - Dodging the question, but was it dodgy dealing?

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reporting one of their associates to the police for theft and as a result his candidacy at a local election had to be withdrawn.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

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 alleged 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, if she did it, abusing her position for financial gain cannot be right.

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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