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Bonkers Blog September 2016

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Councillor Maxine Fothergill confirmed to be victim of malicious attack by senior colleagues.

17 September - Maxine Fothergill is innocent, OK?

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reporting one of their associates to the police for theft and as a result his candidacy at a local election had to be withdrawn.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

If you have followed BiB for more than just a few months you should be familiar with the mysterious case of Councillor Maxine Fothergill.

She was hauled before Bexley’s Code of Conduct Committee last December and by the end of the month stories were circulating about defrauding an old lady. It was an exaggeration but nevertheless looked like it might be Bexley’s next big scandal. Questions were asked and Bexley Council went into total lock down mode.

Despite their best efforts, or maybe because of them, by the beginning of February Bexley’s story began to unravel. The more one learned the more the case against Councillor Fothergill looked like a malicious perversion of justice. There hadn’t even been a complaint. It had to be a stitch up and BiB began to reflect that view.

Bexley Council's continued evasion accentuated the suspicions that they were up to their usual tricks and by the beginning of this month it seemed appropriate to prefix a statement to each relevant blog to explain what was believed to be the true situation. Maxine Fothergill was the victim not the villain.

But why? What had she done to upset the small coterie of corrupt Councillors that blight Bexley Council?

My email filing system is not perfect as those who never get replies will have guessed and a week ago I tried to introduce some order into a big pile of anonymous messages. It really was a lucky chance but I stumbled across one which provided a lot of detail about a big disagreement between Maxine Fothergill and Council Leader Teresa O’Neill.

One was determined to condone criminal activity, the other one wasn’t, which risked embarrassing bad publicity.

I didn’t use that email which is why I forgot about it. One has to be wary of unsubstantiated stories from the political inner circle, someone might be setting me up for another Harassment charge or worse.

But that anonymous old email, and others I subsequently found, further confirmed my suspicions. They were the missing link that provided a motive for an unwarranted attack on Councillor Fothergill. I had already described the charge against Maxine as “manufactured”, now I was practically certain it was. Trumped up by someone well versed in the art of revenge. Who could that possibly be?

I am embarrassed to say I was initially duped by a thoroughly dishonest Council. I should have smelled a rat when I was told that Cabinet Member Philip Read was the source of some useful, as I believed it was at the time, information.

There is more to this case than may be safely said at the moment but what can be said without fear of contradiction is that the leadership of Bexley Council is more dishonest than you would ever believe.


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