Bog Standards

Our thanks go to John Brace for filming last night’s meeting of Wirral Council Standards Panel and for giving us the heads up that we would be reunited with some familiar Wirral Leaks ‘favourites’.

John hasn’t uploaded all of the five part mini-series yet but from what we’ve seen it’s the usual Wirral Council Standards Panel farrago bogged down in procedure ,protocol, partisan politicking and pettiness. However we look forward to John’s incisive eyewitness report with snippets from the investigation report in question at a later date.

The actual hearing concerns an allegation brought against Conservative Cllr Paul Hayes councillor by the Professor Maggie Atkinson – the Independent Chair of Wirral Safeguarding Board. Professor Atkinson alleges that Cllr Hayes was in breach of Wirral Council’s Code of Conduct for suggesting that the decision not to publish the Serious Case Review into the Rajenthiram brothers Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) case was part of a ‘cover up’ ( further allegations made against Cllr Ian Lewis and Cllr Tom Anderson found there was no case to answer).

Ironically the investigation report was written by ex Wirral Council solicitor Simon Goacher of Weightman’s who are the go-to legal firm that Wirral Council call upon to  when it comes to cover ups (most notably the infamous and illegal ‘four week delay’ in the provision of adult care services.) This has not only enabled Wirral Council to hide behind ‘legal privilege’ but allows them to state they have sought external legal advice and therefore everything is ‘legit’ when in fact the exact opposite is true – as was the case in an unreported case of further unlawful charging of disabled people that Weightman’s were also called upon to help put a bit of concealing legal gloss on.

Meanwhile initial observations from us indicate that the Standards Panel played their usual roles – Cllr Phil ‘Anodyne’ Gilchrist dithering about and being in complete,fence-sitting Lib Dem mode. Cllr Chris ‘Bulldog’ Blakeley in full on belligerent ,bulldog chewing a wasp mode and Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ Mc Laughlin in arms folded, eyerolling,  ‘Matron-Knows-Best’ exasperation mode (though we did enjoy the little snipe at Wirral Council’s head of law Philip McCourt – is the honeymoon period over we ask ourselves? )

We await further instalments with interest and be grateful for the fact that at least John Brace was allowed to film this particular Standards Panel and wasn’t physically prevented from entering the Committee room , as was the case in the infamous 2016 Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes  Standards Panel debacle. Now, if you really want to talk about cover ups…

LRJ : An Unofficial Announcement

Resignation letter

Here we have a social media post from our old friend and correspondent Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ). We’ve omitted 2 paragraphs ( containing either personal details or plugs for her charity) , other than that all words , as far as we know, are LRJ’s own. We’ve decided to publish in the public interest mainly because it would appear that LRJ has “made the move to withdrawn (sic) from politics” and therefore surely the local electorate need to know exactly what this means:

Last night I made the move to withdrawn (sic) from politics due to the extreme stress the constant targeting I have faced personally that has put extreme pressure on my health , this is not stress from those residents that I have served as that has been an absolute pleasure.

I would like to thank the one Labour councillor who had wished me well ……., it shows there is at least one good person . I won’t name them as I wouldn’t want them targeted. (Although I believe they can hold their own)

I believe in Jeremy Corbyn and what Labour stands for , I have principles I will not push to one side in order to make friends , I will not stand by an watch bully’s (sic) at work and I will not keep quiet to stop myself being bullied as I was not brought up that way.

My purpose was to make change and make a difference to children and adults with disabilities. I don’t believe in the current climate that there is any intention to change things on Wirral. I see so many children and their families in crisis and more energy is given to try and discredit me through the press , than change a way of working xx

I’ve not gone anywhere and will be back stronger than ever ,just without the noose … 

First thing to say is that we have no problem believing that some local Labour councillors ” can hold their own” – let’s face it many of them don’t have a choice! The second thing to say is that LRJ doesn’t paint a pretty picture of what it’s like being a local Labour councillor does she?  However we don’t appear to have had any official confirmation from the local Labour group or Wirral Council that indeed LRJ no longer features among their ranks . Whilst LRJ is still listed on Wirral Council website as a councillor for the Pensby and Thingwall ward – and presumably still collecting her council allowances  – she was a notable absentee from this week’s annual Wirral Council budget meeting held earlier this week.

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The Nolan Principles in motion : Comrade LRJ putting on a show of solidarity with Comrade Foulkesy (mate of Comrade Crabby)  – awks!

If she is true to her word we have to say we will be sad to see LRJ go ( pass us an onion) as she was such good source of stories for us if nothing else. Who could forget her epic feud with ex – Labour councillor Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree  and how that ended up with him getting a criminal conviction ? LRJ then went from victim to victimiser and ended up falling foul of Wirral Council’s pisspoor ‘Standards’ ( ha!ha!) regime, refusing to apologise to either members of the public that she’d badmouthed on social media or councillors who feigned being ‘appalled’ at her conduct. Let’s face it the councillors were just miffed she didn’t meekly ‘ Do-a-Foulkesy’ and say she’d been very naughty and she wouldn’t do it again……..until the next time. She then threatened Wirral Council and former and current Monitoring Officer ( Surjit Tour and Philip McCourt respectively) with legal action. We also understand she made further allegations against another Labour councillor ( but respect and decorum prevents us from pursuing that particular story any further).

We have to say that from our first post that mentioned LRJ and which dealt with her original suspension by North West Labour Party in May 2015 we always thought her days were numbered. Therefore she appears to have done well to have lasted this long before apparently throwing in the towel. As we said at the time her only hope was to foster a friendship with Frank Field. He wasn’t keen and her fate was sealed. Read more here : Suspension Suspense

Whatever the situation we suspect that the local Labour group will want to keep very quiet on this one – at least until after the local elections in May.  But will LRJ?

Social media strategy

The Leaky Awards 2017 – the Grand Finale

Fireworks

And so we finally reach the grand finale of the Leaky Awards 2017 and taking our cue from the #TimesUp  contingent at the Golden Globes we’ll be wearing black. The clock may been ticking down for us but may it also do the same on the abuse of power – wherever it takes place and in whatever form.

Times Up

However we’ll spare you the dreary , self-righteous speeches – it’s on with the show and our first award of the evening…….

Campaign of the Year

Winner – Defend Our NHS (Wirral)

The local branch of the DONHS have throughout the year provided us with information about future plans for the NHS  and particularly about Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) that should concern us all  , especially as Wirral Council are a key strategic player via the Clinical Commissioning Group.

davies

Runner Up – Wirral Needs

If only for the chant ” Labour Council listen to the people”. Our advice to them after  7 years of banging our head against a brick wall is that they won’t so you’ll  have to make them ! The only way they will be forced to listen is at your local constituency party meetings and in the run up to the local elections this May.  After that it’ll be the same old,same old – personal interest and political ambition taking precedence over the public interest. Don’t say we didn’t tell you!

Wirral Needs

Campaign Fail of the Year

Winner – Wirral Labour ‘Keep Wirral Green’ campaign

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How Wirral Labour reconciled this campaign with proposals and developments for assaults on the Green Belt at Saughall Massie, Hoylake and Thornton Hough etc; we can only hazard a guess but full marks for the sheer PR chutzpah .

Runner up  – Frank Field/Wirral Globe nurses car parking charges at Arrowe Park Hospital (aka Wirral University Teaching Hospital – WUTH )

Whilst it was undoubtedly a worthy campaign we noted how  WUTH CEO David Allison received the petition from Field, gave some bland assurances and then promptly disappeared in a cloud of controversy.We suspect that any incoming CEO will have their work cut-out just keeping WUTH afloat and car parking charges won’t be a priority . Meanwhile  we note that Field is strangely silent about more wide reaching proposals for car parking charges across Wirral that are set to be introduced by Wirral Council. And once again we have to ask is this the only income generation scheme that Wirral Council can come up with and is it even legal?

 

Allison field

David Allison : Yeah whatevs Frank I don’t need this right now. But love your tank top .

Comeback of the Year

Winner Esther McVey, MP for Tatton

Back from the dead

The former MP for Wirral West returns to high office as Work and Pensions Secretary in this week’s Cabinet reshuffle . Somehow this cat on a hot tin roof always manages to land on her kitten heels . And for all her talk of female empowerment we think that McVey is the quintessential beneficiary of modern day political nepotism , where ambition exceeds talent .  The only contribution of note to the local political scene when she was a Wirral West MP was when she hijacked the Martin Morton whistleblowing case for personal and political advantage at Prime Minister’s Questions (apparently Morton knew nothing about it) . What happened after she raised the issue with David Cameron is a particularly worrying episode but alas we won’t be able to do it justice here. Perhaps one day the full shameful tale will be told. 

Runner Up  Stewart Halliday – the economic migrant/consultant from York who crossed the Pennines escaping infamy to make his fortune on Wirral with his two consultancy stints earning him circa £200K. So will Wirral Council kindly tell us whether he’s still around and what exactly we got for our money?

smug-halliday

This man can do a powerpoint presentation and bullshit at the same time ! Therefore Wirral Council must give him as much money as they can.

Comrades of the Year – Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) and Cllr Steve Foulkes (Foulkesy)

foulkesy-lrj-012

 

Were LRJ and Foulkesy separated at birth? Whilst they share so many characteristics none of them can be found in the Nolan Principles! See for yourself :

LRJ Standards Panel investigation report : The  Panel found the evidence of Cllr Louise Reecejones to be inconsistent,vague and misleading. The Panel did not therefore find Cllr Reecejones to be credible.

Foulkesy Standards Panel investigation report : I found it difficult to get Cllr Foulkes to be precise or detailed . His responses were vague,inclined to be evasive and I found them ‘economical with the truth ‘ and unconvincing. 

Yes, just the kind of low lifes we want making decisions about our lives,eh?

Accessories of the Year  –

Winner – Paula Basnett ,CEO Wirral Chamber of Commerce for those shoes.

Shoes

These understated little numbers were considered suitable daywear to shortlist nominees for yet another awards ceremony and did not in anyway reinforce our perception that Ms Basnett and her organisation are all about flash presentation and very little else.

Runner up All Wirral councillors wielding ‘Show Racism the Red Card’placards as a virtue signalling accessory. But especially the local Labour group who tolerate  racists in their midst. But can anyone spot Deputy Leader Cllr George Davies in the picture?

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Best Picture of Unwanted Copies of Wirral View

Winner 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Runner Up

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Whilst appropriately enough both pictures position copies of woeful Wirral View next to their final destination –  a bin – we’d like to think the winner of this category contributed to the dumping (no pun intended) of the original Liverpool -based distributor of Wirral View. Unfortunately a £750,000 3 year print deal with Trinity Mirror means we’re burdened with this lumbering white elephant for the forseeable future. Compare and contrast with Wirral Leaks which has cost council taxpayers of Wirral £0 and we would argue has been more effective in addressing the ‘information deficit’ of local people, particularly when we’ve been providing information that Wirral Council don’t want you to know about!

Wirral’s annual entry in Rotten Boroughs Awards 2017

Winner  Ex- Wirral councillor Jim Crabtree

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Crabtree PE 009

Included in Private Eye’s  Rotten Boroughs 2017 ‘Quotes of the Year’ is this fine example of ‘doublespeak’ from former Wirral Councillor Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree. It’s a year to the day that Crabtree pleading guilty to offences under the Communications Act 2003 and it’s frightening to think that his well deserved fall from grace might never have happened if his increasingly appalling conduct hadn’t been reported on Wirral Leaks. As a quote from one of our Labour sources testifies when they raised concerns about Crabtree’s fitness to be a councillor    – “The comment from George Davies was ‘better the devil you know’ while Frank (Field) thinks he’s the best thing since sliced bread” –  the local Labour group were reluctant to rein him in . Furthermore we understand that they failed to address allegations made by a whistleblower about grant monies which Crabtree allegedly should have paid back to Wirral Council.

Leaky awards   Leaky awardsLeaky awards

 

Advent Farewell 21 – Blott’s Christmas Bonus

Blott

An Ordinary Joe or A Blott On The Landscape-  We still pick up the bill.

Christmas has traditionally been the time when Wirral Council likes to bury bad news. Christmas 2017 is no exception. If hadn’t been for the perspicacity of pernickety blogger John Brace picking up on the fact that the documents which were denied public scrutiny at Monday’s Wirral Council Cabinet meeting were published on their website. Wirral Leaks is, of course , blocked from accessing the Wirral Council website so we are eternally grateful for John’s revealing article. Which you can read here : Golden Goodbye

As you can see the last of the Super Duper Directors Joe Blott is set for what Brace calls a £390K + ‘golden goodbye’ – although we prefer the term ‘ arse -covering bung’. Why such a significant sum for someone so insignificant we hear you ask ?  Mainly because Blott knows where all the bodies are buried and what’s more he helped bury them !

But before we explore that further let’s just ponder the abject failure of former Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess and his ‘big idea’ of appointing 3 Super Duper Directors. Where on God’s green earth would Blott, Kevin ‘Addled’ Adderley and Clare ‘Wet’ Fish be in a position to earn six figure salaries for achieving fuck all? Sorry that’s harsh – there was that Ofsted report rating Children’s Services ‘ inadequate’ wasn’t there?

But back to Blott  – there isn’t a recent Wirral Council cover up his itsy, bitsy, dirty little fingers aren’t all over. However we’re saying his involvement in the ‘Wirralgate’ cover up is the main reason for his premium payment – at our expense. His conduct throughout has been utterly reprehensible . From lying to Patricia Thynne during her first investigation report by claiming he didn’t say ‘no comment’ when asked by a Wirralgate complainant as to why they weren’t investigating the Cllr George Davies ‘sweetheart deal’  (and you don’t think they didn’t record you saying that Joe?) to scampering round at Cllr Steve Foulkes Standards Panel hearing following the second Patricia Thynne investigation circumventing public scrutiny at every turn. Arselicking as an art form – but then it pays so well!

In his own way Joe Blott is a microcosm – and boy do we mean micro – of everything that is wrong with local government. The personification of  How To Get Ahead In Local Government . The ultimate exponent of the ‘Kiss Up Kick Down’ management style that reaps rich rewards. The type to butter you up and then go behind your back.

We just wonder where next for the wunderkind and whether , as previously reported, he’ll end up topping up his pension pot by fulfilling his ambition to go into business with totally bona fide Labour councillor Paul ‘ Dance Away’  Doughty  Blott’s Pension Pot

At least those business cards wouldn’t go to waste , eh Joe?

 

Apologies and Apologists

Apologies i have none

There was a very sorry display (or should that be ‘not sorry’ display?) at this week’s Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee where much of the meeting was spent discussing ” How do we solve a problem like Louise Reecejones (LRJ) ?” .

Apparently at the time of Monday’s meeting LRJ has yet to issue an acceptable apology to the whistleblowers who had made valid complaints about her but were then subject to personal attacks on social media and had to counter allegations intended to damage their careers. Furthermore doubts were raised during this week’s  meeting as to whether LRJ will comply with the requirement  to offer a  grovelling apology for her conduct to all Wirral councillors at full council meeting to be held on December 11 and whether she will actually turn up – something we had already raised as a possibility as you can read here : Standards and Measures

Having said all that it was particularly dispiriting to witness Wirral councillors flailing about and not knowing what to do if LRJ’s BSL signer is required to stick two fingers up to the sanctions imposed on her by the council’s Standards Panel . A rather excitable interim Monitoring Officer Philip McCourt seemed to get a vicarious thrill from reciting instances of appalling conduct of councillors from other areas as if to say ” and you thought you were bad!……”  

At which point Cllr Ron Abbey gormlessly  commented :   ” Just goes to show what’s going on out there . We live in a sheltered world . We’re all too good for our own  good 

Really???

Meanwhile his comedy sidekick Cllr Paul Stuart seems tickled pink by his hilariously insightful comments . They’re the Chuckle Brothers without the chuckles. All of this can be witnessed at between 18- 22 minutes of the John Brace video posted below.

We’d like to ask McCourt where he thinks councillors using racial slurs to describe his predecessor , attempting smear campaigns and trying to use public money to buy the silence of complainants would rank in the scheme of councillor misconduct?  #Wirralgate ……or whether this just confirms his prissy assertion that councillors can currently be ” naughty to a fairly large degree” without it impacting on them being fine upstanding public representatives and pillars of the community.

As far as we’re concerned it’s BY FAR the very worst behaviour ever committed by Wirral councillors . However sadly the days when  councillors could be surcharged for their  misdeeds (Tesco heiress Dame Shirley Porter’s gerrymandering  in Westminster being the most prominent example ) or even referred to inept independent body Standards for England are long gone . Would you believe that despite ex-councillor Jim Crabtree’s conviction earlier this year for his repulsive behaviour (ironically) towards LRJ  that he would still be eligible to stand again as a councillor as he did not receive a custodial sentence of more than 3 months!

It would appear the bar for decent conduct for public servants has now been set so low that is it any wonder that we have the appalling shower of public representatives that we have at Wirral Council?  What’s more when you consider that councillors have been apologists for the most appalling conduct of both favoured senior officers and fellow councillors over recent  years that they now lack any MORAL AUTHORITY when it comes to trying to censure the conduct of  others.

Not that we’re apologists for LRJ but if she’s struggling to cobble together a convincing and sincere apology here’s our humble suggestion :

As a once proud upstanding member of this council I am today detumescent before you. Before I prostrate myself  in abject shame and beg your forgiveness I offer these wholly inadequate yet heartfelt words. I realise I could never hope to meet the high standards set by former Labour councillors such as Harry Smith , with his tact, diplomacy and his use of the English language ,and especially his command of Anglo-Saxon . Nor could I ever hope to attain the high office of  Jim Crabtree .  I realise that his telephone manner left a lot to be desired but in every other respect his behaviour was exemplary – at least by Bidston & St James ward standards anyway.  

As for current Labour councillors there is our supreme leader Phil aka Power Boy Pip who has been a particular inspiration to me when it comes to delegating his powers as I have long admired how he gets other people to do his dirty work. As for his deputies what can I say ? There’s big hitter Bernie and casual racist George. And as for Foulkesy? What can I say other than I am simply unworthy to keep their company.  All that is left for me to say is that I apologise for all the wrongs that the Labour group have inflicted upon Wirral and I accept my role as a scapegoat on their behalf.  

 

 

Show ‘Inappropriate Comments’ The Red Card

 

Red Card 009

Tony tells the truth : ‘The darkness around us is very deep”   Pic : John Brace

Little did we know when we published our Sorrento Shame : Holidaymakers claim they faced ‘racist abuse’ from ex – Wirral Mayoress  story ,that with some perverse synchronicity, it coincided with the 3rd annual ‘Show Racism The Red Card’ campaign.

To mark the event at the full meeting of Wirral Council held on 16th October Cllr Tony Norbury recited a poem.  Fortunately John Brace was able to capture the recital for posterity HERE . Now we can’t say it was one of the greatest orations we’ve ever heard but for those of you with strong stomachs and no gag reflexes it’s well worth enduring – if only for the closing line. Which was :

The darkness around us is very deep 

No seriously, Cllr Norbury uttered those immortal words , seemingly without a trace of irony. Under the circumstances the assembled throng of elected members holding up red cards with ‘ Show Racism The Red Card’ emblazoned on them with different translations of the slogan on the reverse has to be a contender for the empty political gesture of the year (and that’s always a particularly strong category).

Needless to say when it comes to certain councillors we know already that the hardfaced don’t get redfaced but as far as we’re concerned nobody’s hands holding those cards were clean .

Of course whilst councillors wouldn’t know about ‘the Sorrento incident’ they can’t say they didn’t know about the ‘Wirralgate incident’ involving Cllr George Davies , which although now 4 years old still reverberates around the corridors of power at Wallasey Town Hall.

Although the racist slur that forms part of the ‘Wirralgate’ recording is by no means the only disturbing aspect of the telephone conversation between Cllr Davies and a disgruntled ex-employee of Wirral Council , we have to say we had our doubts when we heard that Cllr George Davies had been recorded saying that former Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess had thought that his former head of law was a “bloody useless Chink” . Whilst we had no trouble accepting the “bloody useless” bit – the pejorative description of  Surjit Tour as a “Chink” didn’t seem to make any sense in terms of ethnicity, race or heritage. However the slur has subsequently been confirmed by a disparate range of sources – so who are we to dispute it? What’s more, and on reflection, it made perfect sense as a particular kind of old school casual racism which is deeply ingrained and borne out of sheer ignorance and an appreciation of Bernard Manning.

However what we have never been able to reconcile is that after hearing the ‘Wirralgate’ tape recording himself why didn’t namesake and Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies suspend Cllr George Davies and refer the matter to Wirral Council’s Standards Panel ? Instead he facilitated the means by which a racial slur becomes sanitised and minimised as an ‘inappropriate comment’ in a report written by a certain Peter Mackay that never saw the light of day.  Way to go, Pip!

Red Card 013

Under these circumstances  it seems to us that it’s a case of ” Show Racism the Red Card – unless it’s a well connected Bluenose”  ……and no race awareness/race equality course or waving a red card in the air is ever going to remedy that kind of hypocrisy. We just wish councillors would spare us the self righteous, sanctimonious empty political gestures when we know that certain councillors are clearly comfortable in the company of people who make racist comments.

Caption competition :

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Standards and Measures

We promised to revisit the Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ)  ‘It Has To Stop’  story with our considered views on the role of Wirral Council’s Standards Panel/ Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee and the measures they have taken to sanction LRJ. As we said :

We are not giving LRJ an out here – she deserves everything she gets but it is a matter of proven fact that she has been treated markedly differently than her Labour colleague Cllr Steve Foulkes by the Standards Panel. As far as we’re concerned councillors McLaughlin, Gilchrist and Blakeley have some explaining to do. This is something we will be analysing in a later post.

So let’s briefly recap what sanctions that LRJ faced for being a bad – but by means the worst – councillor at Wirral Council

  •  suspension from the local Labour Group

The Labour Group ‘leader’ , Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies in a rare show of authority recommended permanent expulsion 

  •  referral to the Labour Party regional body ( Labour Northwest) 

Labour Northwest ,who must be heartily sick to the back teeth of Wirral Labour Party careerists, sorry members, commuted the suspension to 6 months 

  • removal of the Labour Party whip 

Thus isolating LRJ from the ‘support’ of the local Labour Party machine. Although we have to say the Labour Party whip would have to have the skills of an ex-lion tamer with a whip and a chair to keep local Labour members under control

  • removal of LRJ representing Wirral Council on outside bodies

Although we’re not sure whether this involved any loss of remuneration (our money)

  •  asked to make full apology to whistleblowers 

And look how that went! LRJ came across as an obstreberous 6 year old stamping her feet and crossing her arms in protest at being found with her hands in the cookie jar

  • asked to make a full apology to all elected members at next full Wirral Council meeting

We won’t hold our breath waiting for LRJ to humbly apologise for her misdemeanours 

As we all know the last councillor to face the Standards Panel prior to LRJ was ex- Wirral council leader and mayor Cllr Steve ‘ Don’t Mention Sorrento’ Foulkes. And what sanctions were imposed on him for being a serial liar?

  • asked to make an apology  to the then Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green

Even though by his own admission Cllr Green WAS NOT THE COMPLAINANT!

  • Er, that’s it  

Bit of a discrepancy don’t you think?, especially when the reason given by clapped out Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin for the local Labour group going after LRJ was her lack of ‘credibility’ and ‘reliability’ as a witness. We’re left wondering whether Matron should have been on the Standards Panel in the first place . She nearly came a cropper for declaring she put her personal friendship with Kevin Miller ,the former monumental failure of a Director of Adult Social Services, above her civic duties.

But then Matron isn’t the only errant councillor in this farrago. Where were the rest of the councillors of all parties when the first Patricia Thynne report was published and where Foulkesy said he couldn’t possibly have handed over a document attempting  to smear Cllr Jeff Green to duplicitous journalist Liam Murphy because there would have to have been an adjournment of the Council meeting when it was alleged he had done so.

Apparently neither ‘investigator’ Thynne or any Wirral councillor bothered to check the minutes because they would have found out that there had indeed been an adjournment. This was one of the reasons that a second (costly) investigation took place and enabled several witnesses to later testify that they saw Foulkesy hand over the incriminating document to Murphy. Something which he had denied in the first investigation. The only explanation we think of for this particular lack of scrutiny is that councillors must have all just sat there and said  : ”  Well, it’s Foulkesy, innit, what do you expect?”

Clearly our expectations are out of step with our local elected members and until they realise they are accountable to us we’re afraid it will remain forever thus.

So when it comes to ‘credibility’ and ‘reliability’ as a witness we’re left thinking that Foulkesy is even more lacking than LRJ – and that’s really sayin’ somethin’ ! What it doesn’t do is explain the difference in the measures made against each respective councillor.

But then those who regularly read Wirral Leaks will know exactly what the explanation is…..

Meanwhile compare and contrast these respective investigators comments :

LRJ v Foulkesy 017

LRJ v Foulkesy 019

 

 

 

‘It Has To Stop’

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‘It has to stop’ …..

These were the poignant words used by one of the whistleblowers at last night’s special meeting of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee. These whistleblowers had been found to have been victimised by Labour councillor Louise Reecejones (LRJ) at a Standards Panel hearing held in June.

As we flagged up last week  in our Sorry/Not Sorry – The LRJ saga continues story it seems that LRJ didn’t offer up an adequate apology for her actions and compounded the original breach by continuing to victimise the same people who had been brave enough to act in the public interest and raise their concerns about how LRJ had allegedly handled the financial affairs of a charity.

We recommend you watch both parts of the John Brace videos below to witness the full halloween horrorshow.

Needless to say  it won’t surprise any of you to hear we have a few observations to make on proceedings. It was frankly sickening to witness the weasel words of all the councillors on the committee –  ‘beyond belief’,’disbelief’, ‘astonishing’, ‘disappointing’ were used to describe the actions/inactions of LRJ. However it was particularly galling to hear it from Labour councillors and especially from Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin who in full  Matron mode ( stern looks and crossed arms) uttered the immortal words :

As the Labour  member on the (Standards) Panel it was very difficult for me  to hear that a Labour councillor had used her position as a councillor to damage the reputation and the livelihoods of other people. It goes without saying that people who come into this council were elected to serve the residents of the borough and not to use our position to do damage to them………

This was breathtaking hypocrisy – as she of all people knows only too well that Labour councillors have been destroying the reputation and livelihoods of whistleblowers and those who call them out or won’t go along with their cover ups for years and years and years. It’s like the year 2012 has been erased from history.

We are not giving LRJ an out here – she deserves everything she gets but it is a matter of proven fact that she has been treated markedly differently than her Labour colleague Cllr Steve Foulkes by the Standards Panel. As far as we’re concerned councillors McLaughlin, Gilchrist and Blakeley have some explaining to do. This is something we will be analysing in a later post.

Meanwhile we’ll just wait and see as to whether LRJ finally offers a meaningful apology to her victims, whether the local Labour Group does indeed impose further sanctions and whether LRJ turns up to provide Council with a fulsome and sincere apology at their next meeting in December.

As for the whistleblowers all we can hope for is that, for them , the nightmare does ‘stop’. Although our knowledge of whistleblowers on Wirral is that it never ‘stops’ – the sense of loss, injustice and powerlessness stays with them for a very long time.

We also have to ask ourselves whether the appalling conduct of some councillors will ever ‘stop’ without meaningful , equitable and proportionate sanctions.

 

Sorry/Not Sorry – The LRJ saga continues

Not Sorry 2

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 :

Crabby v LRJ The Feud Continues

An LRJ Reaction

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.

WIRRALGATE! – Half the Story

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.
Yours Sincerely,
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?

 

An LRJ Reaction

Internal Audit frontsheet

Apparently Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) is appealing. Well , we suppose there’s a first for everything!

However in this particular case when we say appealing we mean that yet another disgraced Wirral councillor is proving once again that taking responsibility for their actions is an alien concept.

As ,yes indeed, according to Liverpool Echo  LRJ  is appealing against the recent sanctions imposed against her by a Wirral Council Standards Panel.

Sanction Distinction

We note that Wirral Leaks gets its first mention in the Liverpool Echo as a ‘local news site’ courtesy of Liam Mk II (Liam Thorp) . Of course Liam Mk I (Liam Murphy) wouldn’t give us the oxygen of publicity as he was too busy dancing to Wirral Council’s ruling administration’s tune despite apparently being ‘outraged’ by how they carried on. So outraged was he , he made a covert recording of a covert recording , played it to his oppo in Wirral Council, later claimed he couldn’t take part in an investigation exposing corruption as he was protecting the confidentiality of his sources and thus allowed a corrupt regime to carry on abusing their power. Thereby proving once and for all that Liam Murphy was to investigative journalism what Larry Grayson was to Rugby League!

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/councillor-sent-texts-saying-could-13292419

Among the damning evidence made against LRJ are texts released during a Code of Conduct investigation include : “They don’t seem to realise I’m at the top of the pecking order ” and referring to the investigator : “She doesn’t scare me and a little councillor involved might just shut her up.”

Listen folks , all we can say is that we know we’re all in big trouble if LRJ considers herself  ‘top of the pecking order’ . However what can we expect when local Labour politicians consider themselves to be untouchable and have been acting with impunity and without consequence for years? Let’s remember the only reason that LRJ’s adversary and convicted criminal Cllr Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree was suspended by North West Labour was down to Wirral Leaks ! So we’d  like to know what their Regional Director , Anna Hutchinson, is going to do about this latest disgrace. It’s all a bit embarrassing (yet again), isn’t it Anna ?

As you can see from the extracts from the leaked Wirral Council Internal Audit report the evidence against LRJ was ‘compelling’. And again you know you’re in really big trouble when even the complicit and compliant Internal Audit come to this conclusion (and yes we’re particularly looking at the Chief Internal Auditor – googly-eyed brown-noser Mark Niblock) . The information we have in our possession (and have had for some time ) is eyewatering and leaves us wondering why it takes 2 years for it to reach the public domain.

Internal Audit 2
Internal Audit 1
We understand the reason that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) didn’t proceed with prosecution because the money was ‘recoverable’  and it was not possible to prove who had fabricated the invoices.  Moreover we understand that Wirral Council have been trying for over a year to retrieve sums relating to this case amounting to £16.5 K (out of the infamous £19K that Crabtree referred to in his malicious phone call to LRJ) .
CPS
Strangely it would appear Wirral Council have been unsuccessful in retrieving the money to date. Can you imagine if any of us owed them £16.5K? We’d be hauled right down Wirral Magistrate’s Court.
But then we’re sure Wirral Council (and particularly the ruling Labour administration) wouldn’t want any of this heard in open court.
Which is why Wirral Leaks will continue to publish – in the public interest – the continuing developments in this case two years after we first gave the heads up on this increasingly complex and particularly sordid story.