Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Kent Conservative Councillor jailed

My recent post "Upholding Standards" touched a raw nerve with Thanet Conservatives. In it I questioned whether Thanet Conservatives would act if one of their councillors was convicted of kerb crawling. I did not criticise the individual councillor convicted, and praised the Medway Conservative administration for taking firm and swift action in removing the Conservative Whip. For new readers Thanet Conservatives are quite happy for swearing, abuse, drunkenness, and much else to be carried out by their councillors in their official roles. Click here and here.
There will be Labour and other parties councillors who get into trouble, it is not unique to one party. There will be more Conservative councillors who feature because the Conservative Party has more councillors in local government. The question is how do you react to misbehaviour. Do you turn a blind eye to it, or do you act?
Pictured is Tunbridge Wells councillor Len Horwood. He has been involved in his fellow Conservative councillor Graham Rumsey (Southborough Town Council) being sent to jail for failing to pay £13,500 council tax. As he had already appeared in court 3 times in the last year, at the least a suspension from the Conservative Party should have taken place?
The question I would like to know the answer to is whether Graham Rumsey still has the Conservative whip? After the expenses stories of the last year politicians have the lowest reputation for generations. All parties need to act to show they will not tolerate misconduct.
So I hope it will become clear that Cllr. Rumsey is not receiving invitations to Conservative group meetings whilst incarcerated, and is not having his apologies noted in the minutes.
Does it matter how parties treat their rotten apples?
I think it does and hope Tunbridge Wells Conservatives will act as Medway Conservatives did to expel Cllr. Rumsey from their Party. For Thanet Conservatives I know there are a minority who reject misconduct, but for the majority they must question what integrity they have by remaining silent, tolerating misconduct and saying it doesn't matter.
Wouldn't it be better for all in public life if my title above did not have the word Conservative in it?


  1. I have no time for rotten apples in public office from whatever political spectrum they come. I always find it amusing that you focus on any Political Party apart from your beloved Labour Party!

  2. Laurence
    Laurence, that's because my blog is mostly about Kent
    1. Labour seem to have no rotten apples touchwood, but this is of course because there are a lot less Labour cllrs in kent too!

    2. I've commented previously on the Labour shenanigans in Doncaster, and sadly that clearly has been part of the appalling child protection record of that council

    Like you I have no time for this and if as I hear 2 Labour MPs are criminally charged on expenses by the CPS tomorrow then they should be suspended from the Labour Party for bringing it into disrepute although sadly I doubt this will happen, pending expulsion.

  3. Mark

    Thanks for your response. Your comments are taken on board.