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?