Saturday, 4 September 2010

Thanet's Abusive Conservative Cabinet Councillor

Thanet Council Labour Group Leader Cllr. Clive Hart has written today to Thanet District Council (TDC) Leader Cllr. Bob Bayford's Cabinet member Cllr. Chris Wells. I understand Thanet District Council Leader Bob Bayford is aware of this ongoing abusive behaviour and considers it to be acceptable conduct.

Clive Hart writes...

"Dear Cllr Wells,

I write to you on a serious matter that for the past two weeks I have tried to raise in a diplomatic manner through your Conservative Group Leader and Deputy Leader. Unfortunately they appear either unable or unwilling to deal with you concerning this particular issue.

The fact is, we in the Labour Group can easily deal with the regular stream of throw-away comments you make regarding serious decisions at TDC, such as at the last council meeting where on one costly financial matter you clearly stated 'lets make this decision now and look at the detail later'.

We also have no problem dealing with the contradictory statements you make such as at the last TDC cabinet meeting where you supported giving away what is currently open green space (used by local children) for free to a developer for them to build on and around the same time you reportedly spoke on local radio about the problems of child obesity.

These kinds of comments are all part of the political process and we are more than happy to respond through that process.

Unfortunately, your are also well known for making nasty, appalling and outrageous comments in public. More recently these have included calling some residents of Thanet "inbreds" during a council meeting and also calling our Labour Shadow Cabinet a "mutual masturbation society". I find that kind of language disgusting and completely unnecessary and I believe most decent people in Thanet would too.

Now I have had it brought to my attention that you recently posted a comment through a local weblog on the world wide web that included the words "senior local labour members who have had restraining orders, or are said to be a little handy with their fists at home when they are frustrated and upset".

As Labour Group Leader I cannot ignore such derogatory comments and you can be assured that if I believed they were in any way true I would deal with the matter immediately.

I sincerely hope you agree these are extremely serious allegations. As a group we could use the standards process to deal with your comments. However, as an individual I have never used the standards process, despite on several occasions having good reason, and as Labour Group Leader I will not be drawn into wasting local rate-payers money to deal with your nasty outbursts (though I can't rule out others feeling differently on this matter and taking such action).

I therefore demand that you retract this latest appalling accusation and make a full public apology!

I also request that you keep such nasty personal thoughts to yourself and please try to temper your language in future.

Cllr Clive Hart - Labour Group Leader.

Please note: As you made all the comments I have referred to above in public I will also be making this communication public.


  1. As a member of the public who reads our local newspapers and browses around our Thanet blogspots, I have yet to read these alleged objectionable outbursts by Councillor Chris Wells. Indeed, to the contrary in fact, as Cllr Wells often offers the voice of reason or explantion when others are in high whinge state about the TDC.

    Furthermore, I thought our councillors were supposed to be adult pillars of the community and, as such, should be capable as meeting up in the privcay of the council chambers to sort out differences or where offence may have been given.

    Do we really elect them, and pay council tax to support their governance, for them to engage on the internet in unproven allegations against each other. For the sake of decency and the standing of your offices, grow up, gentlemen, and behave accordingly.

  2. If what Cllr Clive Hart says is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, then I would strongly urge Cllr. Bob Bayford to deal with this as a matter of urgency.

    Noone can really complain about incompetence (as in the first point), but abusive comments against either the people of Thanet or other councillors cannot and should not be tolerated.

    I speak as a Tory voter (generally) and the airwaves have been full of people 'doing a Ratner' and we know what happened to him.

    Frankly I get rather annoyed when reading about this kind of stuff from TDC members. This isn't the first time, and unfortunately there will no doubt be more. I can only hope that they are duly voted out when the next opportunity arises.

  3. Rich H, whilst agreeing that there should be no place for insulting comments about other councillors or the electorate, I think it equally suspect behaviour, to call for people to be voted out on hearsay evidence only.

    Interested that you have no cause to doubt Councillor Hart's comments, although you claim to be a usual Tory voter, yet you are prepared to accept Cllr. Wells's guilt without giving him a chance to answer the allegation.

    These gentlemen should sort out their differences privately without the dirty washing airing that is taking place here. Mind you, I also believe that the introduction of politics was the worst thing that ever happened to local government for, all too frequently, issues are raised more for political point scoring than the best interests of the public.

  4. Both anons (the same person?) Your loyalty to the Conservative Party is commendable, your morals are not.

    If you are a locally informed person then how can you ignore the following action by Conservative cllrs

    Ezekiel (former leader) 2 standards complaints upheld, abusive behaviour
    Latchford (current cabinet member) standards complaint upheld, circulation of offensive emails.

    Wise (current cabinet member) posting anonymously false stories to smear Cllr. Hart and others. Repeated vexatious complainant.

    Wells (current cabinet member)has been censured for his outbursts previously (convenient that you ignore this matter which has been reported in the local press.

    Moores (cureent cabinet member) vexatious complainant.

    As to reading Cllr Wells latest outburst it is linked to in the post, so just click on the link.

    With regard to your desire for matters to be resolved privately, why should rude and abusive conduct be covered up when it has been repeatedly endorsed by Thanet Conservative cllrs through their election of miscreants to senior positions?

    Do people dealing with leading Thanet Conservatives have to accept, threats, abuse and insults as part of the normal political process?

    I know Cllr. Hart has tried to resolve this matter privately. Rightly he considers Cllr. Bayford's support for insults and implied threats to be misplaced. Sadly it seems that Cllr. Bayford supports the same low standards in public life that was such a feature of his predessor Cllr. Ezekiel's tenure.

    Sadly this has lead Cllr. Hart to expose this ongoing conduct.

    This sort of serial behaviour would not be tolerated in any organisation I have worked for. It is nothing to do with political point scoring. Thanet Conservatives accept, tolerate and indulge in rude and abusive behaviour. Your support for this puts you in a very small and select company.

    If you wish to comment further please provide an identity so you can be personally abused in the way you consider to be reasonable. I think you would find Cllr. Wells suggestions if made about you to be totally unacceptable.

    A prompt public apology from Cllr. Wells for his latest behaviour, and an acknowledgment of his serial problem in upholding standards of conduct would be welcome.

    Cllr. Bayford should also explain why he appoints and supports people who are rude and offensive.

  5. Dear Clive,

    I am in receipt of your recent email, and note its contents. As always, when asked to do so, I have looked again at the comments, in their original context, not as presented, out of context and shot through with hubris and hypocrisy.

    In context, I believe it was a reasonable response. I conclude the answers to removing this from the public domain lie in your own hands, with your own group member. Perhaps if you instructed your colleagues to be more restrained in what they write on their websites, there would be no encouragement to respond in kind. Unless, of course, you truly believe different rules apply to your colleagues than mine?

    Whilst I fully understand your need for diversion of the electorate’s attention as you lead the local labour party into opposing the delivery of new family social housing, I would be grateful if you would find some other manner of trying to achieve that aim.

    I would also request that when attending the Scrutiny Panel on Wednesday evening to champion your opposition to better social housing, you seek to restrain yourself, and cease the constant interruption of anyone who may disagree with you, as you did at Cabinet.

    I look forward to debating openly, publicly, and factually, the issue of ‘gifting’ the land in Dalby Square in the proper arena, on Wednesday 8 September 2010.

    Yours sincerely

    Chris Wells

  6. Oneupmanship is not nice. I've always had respect for Cllr Hart, and now it seems he has joined the ranks of the other small minded Cllr's at TDC.

    I am not interested in "what he said/she said" unless it is on a direct council matter, and 99% of the rest of Thanet are not either. I'm sure if it was a Labour Council at TDC you would have just as many outstanding complaints held against certain people.

    Berating Cllr Well's opinions/choices with regards to the job at hand is one thing. Picking on personal quotes for party gain is another.

    I'm getting fed up of the constant berating between parties. Politics never used to be such a dirty game. It is a sad state of affairs.

    Cllr Hart I've always had respect for you, and your wife. Please go back to being above all of the petty bickering.

  7. Mark, I am the anon to whom you refer and let me say at the outset that I do not support bad manners in public life nor do I ignore such where it is proven. In this instance we were not discussing the past conduct of the sundry councillors you list but, dealing with an allegation against Cllr. Wells made by Cllr. Hart. I simply consider this an inappropriate outlet for such and it saddens me that our local leaders should engage in such rather than concentrating on the governance of the isle.

    As to my identifity, well I used to comment openly but became subject to such abuse, including a threat of violence, that I felt discretion became the better part of valour. That does not make my opinions any less valid but if you wish to exclude me from your site it is your choice even if hardly democratic.