Sanction Distinction

foulkesy-lrj-012

LRJ and Foulkesy – same actions, different sanctions

And so another Labour councillor from Wirral Council is found to be unworthy of holding public office as a damning Standards Panel ‘Decision Notice’ is published. Wirral Leaks readers will know that Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ)  is no stranger to these pages . This time she appears to be the perpetrator rather than the victim of malicious acts.

The Standards Panel , after considering an Investigators Report, “found the actions of  Cllr Reecejones were designed to threaten,intimidate,underine and cause difficulties at work “ for one of the complainants Tamsin Coates . The Standards Panel also noted that LRJ  took a similar approach to the second complainant , Jessica Smyth, where she had made a complaint to the organisation where Ms Jessica Smyth volunteered . Both Ms Coates and Ms Smyth had previously raised legitimate concerns with Wirral Council’s Internal Audit and Merseyside Police. Although no charges were brought against LRJ  because of ‘insufficient evidence’ the complainants were found to be justified in raising their concerns.

LRJ 015

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50042506/Standards%20Panel%2015%20June%202017%20Decsion%20Notice.pdf

Furthermore the Standards Panel found all the complainants  to be credible ( there were more from the Overchurch Residents Association) and yet LRJ was found to be ‘inconsistent, vague and misleading’   –   we know what they’re trying to say there don’t we boys and girls? Of particular interest to us was this quote from the Decision Notice :

LRJ 018

However it was when we read the ‘Sanctions’ section that apoplexy rapidly set in.

There are 5 sanctions in all  : i ) a formal warning letter from Wirral Council’s Monitoring Officer  Surjit Tour (!) ii) LJR must provide a written apology to all complainants iii)  Labour leader Cllr Phil Davies to consider whether party disciplinary action be taken against LRJ and whether she should be removed from all outside bodies to which she has been appointed iv) Tour will be arranging ‘training’ for LRJ which she must attend v) The Panel’s decision to be considered further by the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee.

These sanctions stand in stark contrast to the mild rebuke that was imposed on Cllr Steve Foulkes last year. Foulkesy got away with an apology to  Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green who wasn’t even the complainant! Foulkesy had lied to Wirral Council, lied to the investigator (necessitating a further investigation costing  Wirral Council taxpayers £17K) and continues to lie about what he and Cllr George Davies had been up to – to this very day.

If we were LRJ we’d be asking some serious questions as to why Foulkesy wasn’t given similar sanctions. Especially in relation to a proven liar being able to represent Wirral Council on outside bodies.If anything he is even more unworthy of public office than LRJ – and it would appear that’s really saying something!

But then again we did advise LRJ she was on a hiding to nothing a long time ago . She’s not and never has been part of  the ‘Inner Ring’ . Unlike Standards  Panel  member Cllr Moira McLaughlin who must have enjoyed sticking the knife in someone who played a part in bringing down disgraced former Labour councillor Jim Crabtree – who was , very much, part of the ‘Inner Ring’ .

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/suspension-suspense/

We have never claimed that all Labour councillors are dishonest,incompetent or corrupt but we have consistently called out the cabal that are. Ultimately  we believe it is this ‘Inner Ring’ which has consistently brought Wirral Council into disrepute and until these people are removed from public office the people of Wirral will continue to be poorly served.

Although currently marked ‘Strictly Private and Confidential ‘ the full ‘Investigators Report’ can be found here

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/g6133/Public%20reports%20pack%2015th-Jun-2017%2017.00%20Standards%20Panel.pdf?T=10

 

 

Defending the Empire

Empire

Before we reveal the answers to our ‘Men of Mystery ‘ quiz we’d  like to maintain the suspense for slightly longer and mention a couple of Wirral Leaks regulars.

Firstly we ruefully note that ,  Asif ‘Massive’ Hamid ,Chair of Wirral Chamber of Commerce and CEO of The Contact Company has been awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

How appropriate that someone who specialises in empire building has been awarded an MBE! – even more so when you consider the Wirral Chamber of Horrors seems to specialise in giving awards.

Needless to say as we’re the proud recipients of a hereditary title we do have a tendency to be a bit sneery about such awards dispensed to the so-called great and the good. However our main objection is that such awards seem to serve as a defence to any  criticism-  ‘I have been honoured by the Queen ergo I am a good person’  

I’m sure all us ‘unworthies’  could name a ‘Sir’ or ‘Dame’ or a recipient of a lesser honour who makes us want to shake our head in despair that these people are considered to be ‘worthies’.

Talking of worthies and unworthies the Wirral Council  Standards Panel involving complaints made against Cllr Louise Reecejones did take place this week.

At least John Brace was given the honour and the privilege of being allowed to film the first part of the meeting where it was decided that he should be unceremoniously chucked out for the rest of it!

This is more than be said for last year’s  farce of a Standards Panel / Cover-Up meeting where the doors were barricaded against Brace to prevent him filming Foulkesy’s shame.

As you can see from the footage it’s the same cast from Wirral Council playing their usual roles . Cllr Chris Blakeley – the British bulldog , Cllr Moira McLaughlin  – the stern matron and Cllr Phil Gilchrist – well ,being a Lib Dem, sitting on the fence and voting to exclude the public. And of course we don’t have to tell you what the  Head of Law Surjit Tour advised do we?

Cllr Gilchrist stated that this was part of an attempt to maintain ‘public confidence in our system’ .

Really? – based on the operation of the last two Standards Panel hearings and the totally ineffectual  and self serving  Councillor’s Code of Conduct we have absolutely NO CONFIDENCE in Wirral Council’s system of protecting the powerful. Indeed when we questioned a member of the Standards and Constitutional Committee last year about the Foulkesy  ‘slap on the wrist’  They replied :

The ‘sanctions’ able to be applied are limited to just a few courses of action

As we responded :

Yes and who decided that? You guys did!. 

Utterly feeble. Should be with police and you know it.
Thankfully we know people much braver and committed to public accountability than you guys and we’ll be supporting them 100%…………. 
Whilst at the moment we don’t know the full extent of the allegations made against Cllr Reecejones – although we are promised a redacted investigator’s report shortly- it wouldn’t really matter what she (or any other councillor) had been up to as they  have neatly devised and cynically approved a policy that will forever protect the powerful to defend their political empires.

Low Standards

Standards 2017 011

So here we go again – it’s June so that must mean another Wirral Council Standards Panel cover -up is upon us – or maybe not!

This time round it’s not the Wirralgate cover -up – and if  certain councillors think they’re out of the woods on that one they’re very much mistaken – but more on that another time.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/behind-closed-doors/

We’re hoping that meeting may enable us to get to the bottom of a particular mystery that emerged from the Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree court case earlier this year when the disgraced former councillor was convicted of making a telephone call to Cllr Louise Reecejones where he threatened to kill her. During the threat reference was made to a seemingly random sum of £19,000. As we have previously reported we have never been able to get to the bottom of the significance of this particular figure.

Mystery Figure

Mystery Figure Update : None the wiser

However it would seem that all may revealed at a Standards Panel to be held next week- or maybe not ! We exclusively gave you the heads up that this meeting was on the way :

Political Manoeuvres In The Dark

Consequently , the Standards Panel meeting was listed on the Wirral Council website last week and then mysteriously disappeared and then reappeared. This was all very reminiscent of last years’ never-ending Standards Panel shenanigans.

Council insiders tell us that complainants in this case have made it known that they want the proceedings to be public but have been advised that that will be decided by the panel on the evening of the meeting.
We are also told that all 3 complainants and Cllr Reecejones will be allowed to submit an ‘opening statement’ explaining why they believe that it is in the public interest for proceedings to be either open or closed . We’re sure panel members can be swayed in favour of openness and transparency – or maybe not!
Let’s just hope intrepid reporter John Brace doesn’t have a wasted journey like he did last June (see ‘Behind Closed Doors’ story above) where he had to endure the indignity of being shut out of the Standards Panel which discussed Cllr Steve Foulkes flagrant dishonesty . We understand that council officers resorted to extraordinary lengths to keep Brace out of the meeting by blocking the door to the Committee room where the meeting was held . So when it comes to disregarding standards in public life and protecting the powerful it was a case of ‘how low can you go?’ Apparently in Wirral Council’s case it would appear to be lower than a rattlesnake’s belly!
Nevertheless it will be particularly interesting to find out as to whether Cllr Reecejones  will be afforded the same privileges and protection that her illustrious colleague Foulkesy enjoyed , especially when they’re are some interesting personal dynamics within the Labour group when it comes to this particular case.
However with Cllr Moira McLaughlin,  the chair of the  Standards  and Constitutional Oversight Committee in attendance, we‘re sure that the conduct of Standards Panel meeting will be beyond reproach – or maybe not!……….

 

Pic of the Week

foulkesy-lrj-012

BFF!

Thanks to the Wirral Leaks reader who sent us the above still from a  John Brace video of this week’s Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee along with the message : ‘Awks!’.

Yes ,  indeed the picture led to a rousing rendition at Leaky Towers of that old Bread song which goes : ‘ If a picture paints a thousand words…..’ as we find Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) seated awkwardly next to Cllr Steve Foulkes ( Foulkesy).

As we know Foulkesy is good friends with former Wirral Councillor Jim Crabtree. Who can forget Foulkesy’s message to Crabby when he was having a little local difficulty with the Constituency Labour Party of Bidston & St.James , which endearingly read : ‘Jumbo stay strong fella’ – Bless!

Crabby : Guilty as Charged

As we know Crabtree later went on to disgrace himself when pleading guilty to offences under the Communications Act 2003 when he threatened to kill Reecejones if she didn’t pay him £19,000.

Therefore under the circumstances this show of solidarity in the face of adversity comes across as an embarrassing PDA  –  not so much a Public Display of Affection but a Political Display of Affectation!

Critical Condition

Wirral logocritical-condition

 

As you must know by now we are (and have been) fierce critics of Wirral Council and their uncritical friends ( Local Government Association , Frank Field etc;) for some time.

However it is reassuring that some parts of Wirral’s mainstream media (i.e. Wirral Globe ), local bloggers and our regular correspondents not only have the gift of critical thinking they now have the means by which to express their thoughts.

Unfortunately those means of communication were not around when the power bases were formed which we believe are responsible for the critical condition that Wirral now finds itself in.

So here we find one of our valued Wirral Leaks correspondents Dr Robert B Smith giving us a brief introduction as to how we think we got to where we are and why we all need to challenge the ‘alternative facts’ peddled by the powers that be . As the redoubtable Dr Smith tells us , there’s a book to be written here – especially about missing monies. If he’s looking for a title might we suggest ‘ The Neverending Story’! – Wirral Leaks readers are invited to offer alternatives.

WIRRAL – a Critical Mass of attractions

WIRRAL COUNCIL – a Critical Mess of afflictions

As a recipient of one of then-Cllr Jim (Jumbo) Crabtree’s strident early morning emails at 2.35am, the Wirral Leaks piece reported in Private Eye regarding the exposure of his death threats to Cllr LRJ, prompted me to put a few thoughts together about Wirral Council and councillors.

To understand Wirral’s problems, and there are many, is to understand its history.

To understand Wirral Council’s problems, and there are many, is to understand its history.

Wirral Council should serve its residents, businesses and visitors, but has insidiously created the ‘insular peninsula’. Wirral Council is a stricken organisation, nationally acknowledged as an organisation where abnormal behaviour is so deeply embedded it is accepted as ‘normal’; and the organisation is in terminal decline. Wirral councillors, and chief officers now occupy a self-created netherworld. This is almost beyond comprehension in many ways as, unlike Chief and Senior officers, councillors do live in Wirral with the consequences of their actions, and presumably are friends and neighbours with Wirral residents, businesses and visitors. Maybe that defines peninsularity…or possibly vested interests?

And this is the critical factor that almost entirely divorces Wirral Council from the public it is supposed to serve. The concept of public service for the upper echelons of Wirral Council, both politicians and managers is a distant memory. Self-serving organisational protection is in full-flow, after gaining momentum over the last 15 years or so.

Wirral Council’s finances have been in free-fall since the early 1990s, although no-one in Wirral Council will admit it – but the evidence is all around in the media and archives. Gradually diminishing services, cloaked in desperate efforts to create an illusion of visionary leadership, is not actually about services. It is actually about survival of the organisation and those that significantly benefit from being part of it. That does not include Wirral’s residents, businesses and visitors.

Wirral Council’s self-perception, and its perception of Wirral (‘The Leisure Peninsula’), have led it until fairly recently to vehemently oppose any links to, or association with, Liverpool. This has changed more recently as a matter of necessity due to a now imposed concept, not at all understood by Wirral Council, of a city-region and its interdependences.

Strategic thinkers amongst senior officers are long gone. Over the years political self-interest and party-political power struggles of whatever political persuasion, have taken their toll, at the expense of a great many staff, and those Wirral Council is supposed to serve.

‘That was then, and this is now’. 7 words that embrace a few decades of disastrous planning, and financial management. If in fact there was any planning at all. Wirral residents, businesses and visitors are paying handsomely now, for what happened then. It is interesting to see which councillors were around then, and which are still around now.

When, in the late 1990s, a councillor states “this year’s budget is in a mess, but never mind. The Director of Finance will pull something out of the hat, he always does”. When successive years of budget cuts follow, it doesn’t take an Einstein to know there will be trouble ahead. Chase the regeneration grants…over £500,000,000 spent in Birkenhead by 2008…Wirral Council just walks away and allocates no additional revenue to maintain or run the new facilities. Just take a look around.

Wirral Council owes around £500,000,000 to private banks as a result of borrowing £137,000,000 from private banks between 2001 and 2008. No-one in Wirral Council appears to know where any of that money was allocated. Maybe no-one could find the hat any longer?

Parking charges…again. Another bankrupt idea from an almost bankrupt Council you may think? The Wirral Council mantra “We need to raise additional income.” “We’re having our grants cut again!” “We are the victims in this!”

Are they? And that is the key – the Council see themselves as ‘the victims in this’. It is actually Wirral residents, businesses, and visitors who are the victims.

Parking charges just keep creeping back in. It cost the Council in 2014/15 £119,000 to enforce parking penalties. So the good citizens of the borough are paying for the privilege of penalising parking offenders. However, a separate income line from the same year is ‘the full amount of Pay & Display parking income receipts banked by Wirral Council, £1,689,267’ – taken again from the good citizens of the borough.

Freedom of Information requests – one of which was asked about parking charges. How many requests are refused? There is a procedure called ‘the public interest test’. However, in Wirral it does not exist. What does exist is ‘the Council interest test’. Which is why so many refused Freedom of Information requests are overturned by the Information Commissioners Office.

From start to finish this is a very expensive process. If a request is overturned, then surely the ‘public interest test’ was ignored. How much public money is wasted by Wirral Council, defending the obviously indefensible? A ‘successful’ Freedom of Information request confirms that no records are kept…which appears to indicate there is a bottomless pit of money when the Council wants it to frustrate enquirers by refusing legitimate requests.

Then again £2,000,000 can also be magically produced when the Safeguarding Board isn’t up to the job, and £237,960 per year (with little sign of private sector income to offset the cost) public money to finance the ‘Wirral View’ of Wirral (seen through Wirral Council’s rose-tinted specs). They can’t be read at luncheon clubs now the minimal funding has been axed, can they?

Which brings me back to now. And the legacy of ‘that was then’. Only one of numerous examples…What price is being paid to service a debt of £500,000,000 owed to private banks by Wirral Council? At an average of 6% pa, around £8,000,000 per year (this is not the total of council borrowing by the way) with the final payments being made in 2078. Tell your kids and grandkids if you are in your 20s now – Wirral Council mortgaged all our futures just to save political skins.

What price is being paid by Wirral’s Council Tax and other tax payers? The price of political failure over decades. But the rewards to politicians and some senior officers have been significant. There are not many paid jobs where the serially inept are rewarded with such significant sums of money for continuous failure.

Do any occupants of positions in the upper echelons of Wirral Council management just ‘leave’ without an additional ‘package’ of some kind– if not, why not?

 

The Appalling

private-eye-crabby-008

 

private-eye-crabby-009

 

As you can see we’re delighted to have made the hallowed pages of Private Eye . The latest edition of the satirical magazine features a Rotten Boroughs article concerned with ‘the appalling Jim Crabtree’. Wirral Leaks readers will be very familiar with the torrid tales of ‘Crabby’ and Cllr Louise Reecejones as they unfolded on this blog . However the article is a neat summation of the story so far………

We’re just grateful we got an acknowledgement as a source  – something the Liverpool Echo  journo who previously flagged up our stories to Private Eye regularly failed to do.

From our point of view the really scary thing is we don’t think that Crabby was the most ‘appalling ‘ Wirral councillor of recent times. Indeed we maintain that some of the most ‘grossly offensive and indecent’ offenders  are still in power and making ‘appalling’ decisions about OUR LIVES. Clearly Crabby wasn’t considered important enough for the local Labour cabal to throw their seemingly limitless PUBLIC resources and extensive political influence behind him to save his sorry backside.

It must be galling for Crabby to be publicly (and justifiably) pilloried whilst his former colleagues keep on trousering those allowances and acting all important ,especially when -like Reecejones – he knows exactly what they’ve been up to…….

Mystery Figure Update : None the wiser

 money-question
We are grateful to Cllr Louise Reecejones herself who has responded directly to our article about the mystery £19K referred to in former Wirral councillor Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree’s less than friendly late night call which landed him in Wirral Magistrates Court. However we are none the wiser as to what the £19K is all about – except that if Crabtree was ‘mistaken’ about the money being for ‘leaflets he had paid for’ he was probably wise to plead guilty as he could potentially have had perjury added to his rap sheet.
Dear Julian,
In response to your article…
The SEN grant does not amount to £19 and came from a number of departments, after a full investigation the police including going through all my personal affairs there was nothing out of order, the witch hunt continued and the charity I am involved with became the target and a complaint was made to the Charity commission, they investigated and all bank statements were given over and it was also found there was no case to answer.
I am still being targeted by the same group of parents who started this entire thing and I face yet another investigation which is currently underway.
At some point this group of parents will have no where left to go.
In Crabtree’s statement he claimed the 19k was for leaflets he had paid for (bizarre!)

It’s true I’m prob not the most loved councillor but I’m not here to make friends.

Kind Regards,

Councillor Louise Reecejones

Mystery Figure

19k

One of the many curious aspects of this week’s  Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree conviction was the quote :  ‘You need to pay back the £19,000 bitch, or I will do what happened to that MP today’ which was addressed to Cllr Louise Reecejones and as we now know referred to the murdered MP, Jo Cox.

Never has the mention of a sum of money so troubled the minds of  Wirral Leaks and its readers since the infamous £48,000 paid to former Wirral Council head of communications, Emma Degg.

£19,000 seems to be such a random, arbitrary figure  – or is it?

Unfortunately as Crabtree pleaded guilty he was spared cross examination and so the finer details of his threat were not heard in court. Subsequently Reecejones has also failed to enlighten us on the significance of the £19,000 in her exclusive interview with the Wirral Globe :

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15022017.Wirral_councillor_victim_of_death_threat_call_describes_her_shock_when_she_realised_it_was_made_by_former_colleague/

So what are we to make of this £19,000 ? –  an amount plucked out of the air in a drunken tirade or does it refer to matters which have been under-reported ?

We have reason to believe that the crux of this particular matter harks back to a time when both Crabtree and Reecejones were suspended , facing separate allegations and under investigation by the North West Labour Party – but not by the local Labour Party .

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/suspension-suspense/

Indeed we believe that what unfolded in this highly damaging case to the reputation of the local Labour group is due to a total absence of leadership. Also , witness the fact that despite this shameful case making the national newspapers (Daily Mirror and Daily Mail) that no prominent local Labour politician has issued a word of support for Reecejones or has been prepared to condemn Crabtree for his ‘despicable’ conduct.

However we have reason to understand that the £19,000 Crabtree referred to was not owed to him personally but was rather what he believed was owed, for some reason, to Wirral Council by Cllr Reecejones. Information we have received suggests this money was for the implementation of the special education needs and disability reforms given to Wirral Council by the Department for Education and there have been claims it was allegedly misused.

Although Reecejones was investigated , cleared of any wrongdoing and reinstated  , Crabtree was given a formal warning about his conduct which related to quite separate matters which we have covered extensively on Wirral Leaks. He subsequently failed to be selected as Labour’s ward representative for Bidston & St. James . Could this have been the cause of deep abiding resentment that let led to last June’s cataclysmic phone call ?

Meanwhile we are promised that  : “There are more newsworthy issues to yet come out about LRJ in the not too distant future. “

Perhaps then we will finally find out what the £19K is all about – just as we eventually found out that the £48K that Degg received was a result of allegedly being bullied and harassed by ex – council leader and ex – mayor Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes.

Some of the local Labour group are a lovely bunch, aren’t they?.

News Briefs

News Briefs

News Item 1

Our thanks go to the wag who sent us details of the News and Content Officer post being recruited to by Wirral Council and for asking us whether our very own Verity was applying!. Verity told that she is always true to her name so will be giving it a swerve !.

https://ww3.wirral.gov.uk/jobs/jobdetail.asp?VacancyID=7374&Other

However we’d like to wish the person responsible for “having  real enthusiasm for communicating what a fantastic place Wirral is to live and work”  the very best of luck. Let’s make a deal – you do the turdpolishing , we’ll do the dirty laundry!.We’re particularly looking forward to reading about Wirral Council Employee of the Month – from the stories we’ve covered that’ll be someone who hasn’t stolen the petty cash , handed over money to scam merchants , failed to follow procurement procedures or been involved in sexual shenanigans and senior management fisticuffs.

Talking of which …….

News Item 2

How delighted we were to see Kevin “Addled” Adderley at last weeks Birkenhead Constituency Committee meeting – pockets bulging with Council taxpayers cash and telling the gathered throng about the wonderful things he was now doing in retirement with the Wirral Chamber of Commerce.

It wasn’t all good news though as we hear that Frank Field has stepped down from his role as Chair of the Committee. Frankenfield was always good for a petulant quote or two – who can forget his sly dig at this very blog?.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/frankie-says-wirral-leaks/

Frankenfield is still keeping his hand in (so to speak) as the new Chair is his political agent Cllr  George ” We Shall Overcomb”  Davies . We had questioned Frankenfield’s suitability to chair this Committee from the outset – should the local MP be making decisions on how the Council spends its money ?. But then he’s been used to spending Council money on his pet projects for years as Tony Kinsella and Nick Warren can testify (and we can only hope that one day they may have to !).

Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies helpfully explained that the selfless Birkenhead MP was spending  more time on “parliamentary duties” . By which we think he means having  a bitchfight with BHS bad boy “Sir” Philip Green.

Field has received a letter from Green’s lawyers asking him to apologise for comments he made comparing him unfavourably to pension plunderer Robert Maxwell.

Field told Sky News: “I don’t know how that will run, but it adds to the gaiety of life doesn’t it?”

Doesn’t it just sweetie!.

Frankenfield has gone on to call Green “evil” – which suggests to us that he has a particularly delicate sensibility or he needs to get out more and meet some of his constituents who contribute to his description of Birkenhead being “like Beirut”.

News Item 3

…and finally we read that Cllr Adrian “Janus-faced” Jones is the only Wirral Councillor to publicly support Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by signing a pro-Corbyn letter (although we do know that fellow Labour councillors Treena Johnson and Louise Reecejones are also Jezza fans)

http://labourlist.org/2016/06/hundreds-of-councillors-sign-pro-corbyn-letter/

 

Father Christmas and eagle

Awks

 

 

 

Vote for X

Vote X

 

The 103 candidates up for 23 council seats in Wirral’s 22 wards have been announced:

https://www.wirral.gov.uk/sites/default/files/all/Elections%20and%20voting/2016-05-05election/sopn-local-election-20160505.pdf

For us one name in particular stood out on the ballot sheet .

Let’s call them Councillor X  (although there are quite a few other things we’d like to call them including  ex-councillor).

Unlike Wirral Council we wouldn’t want to interfere or influence the democratic process by naming Councillor X .However we have grave concerns that Wirral Council officials have colluded with the likely election of someone who should have been suspended from public duties a long time ago.

Labour Councillors  Jim Crabtree and Louise Reecejones must feel particularly aggrieved at their suspensions as judged on what we know about the allegations made against them they don’t come anywhere near the seriousness of the malpractice that has been alleged against Councillor X.

Although these allegations have been duly investigated you’d think if it was the usual “no case to answer” that the matter could be forgotten about and we could get off our ballot box.

The report into the conduct of Councillor X (and others) was completed long ago. However the Standards Panel where it was to be discussed has shamefully been subject to delay after delay after delay thus enabling Councillor X to stand at the forthcoming local elections with an unblemished record when it comes to upholding the seven principles of public life. Nice to know that Wirral Council are enabling voters to make an informed choice about who they’re voting for isn’t it?.

The apparent reason for these delays was the unavailability of a representative from one particular political party and yet , making no comment on the the emotive issue that they were discussing , the members of that same political party all managed to attend a Cabinet meeting held today at Wallasey Town Hall. We also know that councillors who are not members of the Cabinet will be leafleting , electioneering and generally gladhanding the general public and reassuring them that they models of personal and public probity…..and yet not one of them could find time to attend a meeting to consider the most shameful episode in Wirral Council history before the local elections – funny that isn’t it?. ….and the joke is most certainly on Wirral’s voters.