It is perhaps appropriate that Halloween sees the unveiling of the latest instalment of Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) saga.
The previous two instalments can be found here :
Wirral Leaks readers will remember that The Standards Panel of 15th June 2017 determined that LRJ had breached the Members’ Code of Conduct. The Panel decision required a number of actions to take place, including reporting the outcome to Wirral Council’s Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee on 31st October to check whether LRJ has complied with the sanctions against her. The decision was subject to LRJ’s appeal which, considering the evidence against her, inevitably fell flat on its face. The report to the Committee sets out the steps that have, or have not, been taken by LRJ and other interested parties in responding to the actions required……..and it makes very interesting reading and might we suggest will lead to some intriguing political questions .
The report of Philip McCourt (Interim Assistant Director – Law & Governance /Monitoring Officer) who is currently auditioning to be Surjit Tour’s successor can be found HERE
As you can see there are a number of recommendations made to the Committee . The most damning being set out at recommendation (d) that LRJ
(i) has been, and continues to be, an unreliable witness;
(ii) has attempted to mislead both the investigator conducting the
review and the monitoring officer in attempting to enforce the
sanctions of the Standards Panel; and
(iii) has continued to use her position and influence as a councillor to
victimise the complainants by making false allegations against
them via social media and to others
in breach of her obligations under the Members Code of Conduct
Now for us this is where it gets really interesting because as a result of of the Standards Panel held on 15th June the Labour Political Group Leader (presumably Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies) was asked to consider whether party disciplinary action should be taken against Councillor Reecejones and whether she should be removed (through Council) from all outside bodies to which she has been appointed.
Strangely such recommendations were not made by the Standards Panel at Cllr Steve Foulkes Code of Conduct hearing held in August 2016 – where it could be argued that Foulkesy’s proven dishonesty was much more serious and much more damaging to Wirral Council.
However in the light of LRJ Standards Panel hearing she was suspended from the Labour Group indefinitely. On appeal to the Labour North West , this action was
commuted to a suspension of four months, to 6th January 2018, on the condition that Cllr Reecejones makes the formal apology required of her.
LRJ’s belated ‘sorry/not sorry’ response set out below (which is included in McCourts’s report above ) will need to be considered by the Standards Panel and the Labour Group
Dear Overchurch Residents Association,
I am writing to you as an outcome to the standards panel of 15th June
2017, I apologise for breaching the members code of conduct.
Cllr Louise Reecejones”
The other letters contained the same or less, but were additionally
accompanied by a final statement that read:
“This letter is solely for the recipient and should not be for publication “
We will have to wait and see whether this will suffice to save LRJ’s political skin. But having ,at least in the eyes of the Labour Group power elite anyway, been seen as being responsible for taking down one of their own ( ex Cllr Jim Crabtree) we don’t fancy her chances of retaining her current status as a Labour councillor.
If this does transpire we’d be interested to know how the Labour Group justify their kid glove approach to the likes of Cllr George Davies and Cllr Steve Foulkes. Neither have even been suspended let alone face any kind of meaningful sanction for what frankly amounts to criminality – but then when the Labour Political Group Leader Cllr Phil Davies and the Labour Political Group Godfather are implicated in the cover up of their crime what should we expect?