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Bonkers Blog January 2016

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22 January (Part 1) - The power of the internet

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reporting one of their associates to the police for theft and as a result his candidacy at a local election had to be withdrawn.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

MaceThe appeal to Bonkers’ readers for information relating to the Maxine Fothergill affair has brought forth some rather interesting information. I think I now know quite a lot of what happened but vital mysteries remain.

The principal missing bit is the name of the elderly lady who may have sold her home at a less than premium price and her precise address. I know the road so a trace via the Land Registry should find the house (maybe I should say bungalow) number and that should lead to her name and that of the council officer who bought it. Not that that is really needed, it is already obvious who did so.

Every tranche of new information brings forth new shocks. The old lady was honoured with a ride in the Mayoral limo. That will require a lot of explanation.

The question is, how deep does corruption go within Bexley Council?

The use of the limousine implicates the Mayor at the time, Councillor Howard Marriner. I have no idea at the moment whether he is up to his neck in it or merely an innocent bystander, just as much a victim as the old lady. I’d bet on it being the latter and you should assume the same.

The following is an FOI which may possibly shed some light on the matter. Bexley Council won’t want to release the diary but they were taken to the Information Commissioner for the same thing more than three years ago and lost that case. Everything will come to he who waits.

Please supply a copy of Councillor Marriner's Mayoral Diary for the months of November and December 2014 and January 2015.

The answer to yesterday’s quiz question should now be clearer. Councillor Maxine Fothergill manages property in Mariners Walk and allegedly takes £7,000 a month out of it. Howard Marriner at the very least, allowed his Mayoral car to be used on very unofficial business. The info has come from several sources.

Maxine Fothergill for her sins has been asked not to pull a stunt like that again and has been removed from the Appeal Committee. Quite some punishment eh?

A meeting of interested parties has been called for next week - including my retired police Inspector friend, Michael Barnbrook - to pool documentation and discuss whether it is sufficient to put criminal allegations to the police.

If we get a Labour Mayor of London in May he should be a lot less likely to interfere in Bexley’s judicial processes than his Tory predecessor. I suspect that is why CPS consideration of the Will Tuckley/Cheryl Bacon case is delayed from 18th December until 5th February.

Note: For the record my team of three won the pub quiz even though the next smallest team numbered six. I came home £9.33 richer which was more than I spent on beer. A good omen for the Fothergill investigation?


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