After initially pleading not guilty to offences under the Communications Act 2003 a subsequent change of plea meant that today ex Wirral councillor Jim ‘Crabby’Crabtree was given a 12 week sentence (suspended for a year) plus asked to pay costs,compensation and a victim surcharge at Wirral Magistrates Court . The allegation of his offence was first reported on Wirral Leaks
However for the full shocking story of today’s events in court read the Wirral Globe (you know the local newspaper that Wirral Council want to put out of business!) :
Finally we are able to publish the details of Crabtree threatening to kill Cllr Louise Reecejones if she didn’t pay him £19,000 . This incident happened on the same night Cllr Reecejones’ colleague and friend Jo Cox was brutally murdered.
As shocking as this – sadly it comes as no surprise to us. Not only did we know about the incident but we’ve been well aware of Crabtree’s increasingly worrying conduct over a number of years.
Astonishingly for a man who was once appointed to be Chair of Wirral Council’s Audit & Risk Management Committee, we’ve always known his communications haven’t always been in keeping with someone destined to hold high public office.
Who can forget his response Jim O’Neil the campaigner wanting to keep Wirral’s libraries open when they were under threat ? :
“Jim, I’m fed up with all your childish crap, please keep it too[sic] yourself and don’t send me any more – I’m fed up deleting your trash.”
Now it would appear that the contempt he had for members of the public also extended to elected members and over time escalated and became much more sinister.
We think the big lesson that needs to be learned from this case that if politicians and officers think that they’re untouchable this is where it ends up : Court 6 of Wirral Magistrates Court .
For many years Crabtree was one of the gang , the inner ring that rules Wirral Council. We’ve always maintained that the trouble with the local Labour group is that there is a small cabal of Labour councillors who for far too long were used to getting their own way both in and out of the council chamber ( we understand that the question ‘Do you know who I am ?’ has got them out of many a scrape ). And of course they had the abiding support of an influential , national political figure in Birkenhead MP Frank Field – someone who has turned the three wise monkey act into an art form when it comes to the conduct of certain local Labour councillors.
The frightening thing is we don’t even think Crabtree was the most heinous member of this cabal . So our message goes directly to council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies : This is what happens when there are no sanctions, no accountability and nobody takes responsibilities for their actions. You have a duty of care to protect all your party members not just those who are part of ‘the inner ring’….and by protect we don’t mean ‘cover up’ !
Indeed it is highly unlikely that Crabtree would ever have been suspended by the local Labour group if it wasn’t for concerned party members repeatedly raising their concerns about his conduct with Wirral Leaks . No wonder the Labour Party North West Regional Director Anna Hutchinson later decreed :
“That the leadership of the Labour Group are required to undertake training in order to ensure that any future issues raised with them that are of serious concern are dealt with in a prompt and appropriate way “
To which we can only respond by saying that the local Labour group don’t need training when it comes to addressing serious issues – they need a moral compass!
It remains to be seen whether the party faithful will rally round Crabtree after today’s ruling as Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes previously did (see above) when Crabtree was having troubles over his suspension and subsequent de-selection ……
Jim Crabtree : A selected Wirral Leaks history