Just after nine o’clock last Thursday evening, Cabinet Member Peter Craske,
presumably more interested in his mobile phone than what was going on in the
Council chamber, interrupted the Places Overview and Scrutiny meeting to announce
that former Bexley Councillor and his Blackfen ward colleague until May 2014 had been
given the job of Director of Communications by Prime Minister Theresa May.
There is every reason to believe that Katie Perrior is a first class Public Relations guru but as a Cabinet Member in Bexley she proved to be the master of ignominious failure.
Under former Councillor Katie Perrior’s watchful eye at least two children known to Bexley Council died for lack of care. (†)
The neglect was widespread and OFSTED rated Bexley’s Children’s Services ‘Inadequate’.
Since then, her successor, Councillor Philip Read, has struggled, with some success it has to be said, to restore Bexley’s shattered reputation. A couple of staff heads rolled but Ms. Perrior was allowed to slip away gracefully to run the PR group, INHouse Communications which she founded. It made its name politically by masterminding Boris Johnson’s election campaign in 2008.
Ms. Perrior is said to be unusual in becoming a spin doctor without a journalistic background although the experience within Bexley Council will have given her a good grounding in political spin.
She may not have been a journalist but her name was not unknown to the local newspapers. In 2011 she wrote to the now defunct Bexley Chronicle to justify her £22,650 allowance.
She was free to do so but implying that she was a penniless single mum and that she was “best placed to know exactly what residents of this borough are going through" was over-egging the situation somewhat.
“The majority of Bexley’s residents are not rich and sadly neither am I.”
You can see how she came to get the job of chief spin doctor. Deceit comes naturally to her.
† The other one was Ndingeko Kunene who died of rickets.