Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Labour - Councillor Fraud

WELL-KNOWN Paisley Councillor Tommy Williams has been charged with fraud.

Mr Williams is still entitled to attend council meetings and represent his constituents.

He will only stop being a councillor if he gets a criminal conviction, the Standards Commission bars him from office, or he resigns.

In December last year the Paisley Daily Express revealed that Mr Williams was sacked from his social work job at Glasgow City Council amid claims of financial irregularities.

Mr Williams, who is Renfrewshire Council’s Paisley North West representative, was charged over the weekend.

A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police said: “A 55-year-old man is subject of a report to the procurator fiscal in relation to an alleged fraud.”

It is believed Mr Williams, who lives in Barshaw, has been charged in relation to his job as a community support worker at Glasgow City Council.

A source at Renfrewshire Council told us: “This is nothing to do with Tommy’s work as a councillor, but is linked to his job in the city.”

Mr Williams was a prominent figure in the local Labour group and, at a national level, he worked alongside Wendy Alexander during her successful campaign to become Labour's first female Scottish leader.

He was among many people who called for Paisley University’s name not to be changed to the University of the West of Scotland.

And he asked Renfrewshire Council to have a rethink on closing the Apex Centre in Ferguslie Park along with Morton Nursery School in Linwood and the nursery class at St Fergus’ Primary.


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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lib Dem MP = Assault

BAY MP Adrian Sanders launched a 'shocking and unacceptable' 'violent assault' on fellow Liberal Democrat Mark Littlewood, according to eyewitnesses found by the Herald Express.

Mr Sanders is said to have gone for the former Lib Dem press chief's throat in Monday's incident, which hit national headlines at the party's annual conference in Bournemouth.

A Lib Dem spokesman told the Herald Express that Mr Sanders 'pushed' Mr Littlewood, who then fell over a small wall.

The incident was widely reported as 'a kerfuffle'.

Lib Dem officials also issued a brief statement, confirming Mr Sanders had offered a full apology to Mr Littlewood.

But, citing an agreement with his party and Mr Littlewood, the Bay MP has steadfastly refused to either expand on that statement or explain the full detail of what happened or what prompted his actions.

But the Herald Express has now spoken to two eye-witnesses, who claim the incident was more serious than originally reported.

Bristol-based Lib Dem councillor Steve Comer and party member Julian Harris have both published internet blogs revealing what they say is the full extent of 49-year-old Mr Sanders 'unacceptable' assault on Mr Littlewood, which happened outside the party conference venue in Bournemouth on Monday morning.

Cllr Comer, who represents the Eastville ward on Bristol City Council, said he was 'horrified' by Mr Sanders' attack.

He said: "Clearly, for whatever reason, the red mist descended. I was pretty horrified at the time."

In his account on the Lib Dem Voice website, Cllr Comer wrote: "I was handing out leaflets for a lunchtime fringe meeting I was chairing for my trade union when Adrian Sanders pushed past me, almost knocking me over.

"He grabbed Mark Littlewood by the throat, and shook him, Mark then fell backwards over a low wall. Following the attack, I stood between Adrian and Mark to prevent a repetition.

"Stewards and Bournemouth Centre security staff then intervened, and I understand the incident was recorded on CCTV.

"To dismiss this as a 'kerfuffle' is inaccurate. I see that a written apology has been accepted, so that should suffice, and if it was a case of 'red mist' then that has probably been admitted. However this sort of behaviour is unacceptable and as Liberal Democrats we should say so."

Mr Harris published his version of events under a headline which read: 'Exclusive: Eye-Witness Account of Adrian Sanders' Violence'

He wrote: "Yesterday morning Adrian Sanders, Lib Dem MP for Torbay, violently assaulted someone outside the Bournemouth International Centre."

He continued: "Mark Littlewood, ex-PR guru of Cowley Street, was lingering outside the centre.

"Adrian Sanders approached, confronted him, then after only several moments of conversation suddenly attacked him, trying to grab his throat and pushing him backwards over the low wall that he had been standing in front of."

He continued on his online blog: "How can the party claim it is 'not a huge deal' when one of their MPs physically attacks someone at conference?

"There were several other witnesses to the assault, mainly people from Liberal Democrat groups or charities handing out fliers, and the consensus among us was that this is shocking and unacceptable.

"At an event which is supposed to be promoting reasoned discussion and debate within the Liberal Democrats, I find it strange that an MP is essentially allowed to get away with physical assault."

When these versions of events appearing on-line were put to Mr Sanders at his Paignton home yesterday, he said: "There are several versions of the story out there, including one that I punched him, so if I deny or confirm something, then I am commenting on the incident, and I can't do that."

When Mr Sanders was asked if he owed his constituents an explanation for the incident, he said: "What they know is that I don't break my agreements, that is what they will take from this.

"I am not going to comment, my constituents now know that I don't break my word."

When asked if he was accountable to his constituents, whose votes elected him into office first in 1997, then again in 2001 and most recently in 2005, Mr Sanders said: "No more. I have said all I am going to say. Stop. I'm going to put the phone down."

Following Monday's events, Mr Sanders met with party whips who decided he could keep his position as deputy chief whip.

The Liberal Democrats yesterday refused to answer further questions put to them by the Herald Express.

We asked if the agreement that Mr Littlewood, Mr Sanders and the party had reached was in accordance with party disciplinary procedure, and asked the partyto respond to the eye-witness accounts.

But Lena Pietsch, head of media for the Lib Dems, would not comment further on the incident, or the allegations made by witnesses saying: "The party only made one official statement relating to this matter. It was issued on Monday, September 15."

That statement read: "Following an incident this morning, Adrian Sanders MP has offered Mark Littlewood a full, written and unreserved apology for his conduct. On this basis Mark Littlewood will not be involving the legal authorities. Mark Littlewood, Adrian Sanders and the party do not intend to comment any further."

A spokesman for the Bournemouth International Centre, where the incident took place said there was no CCTV footage of the incident.

Mr Littlewood said he would not comment further, saying: "I stick by the statement that I agreed with the press office."


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Conservative Councillors suspended after sex claims


Two married Conservative councillors have been suspended amid allegations they have been hosting group sex sessions at their Wolverhampton home.

To their neighbours, David and Carol Bourne are pillars of the community. Both represent Wednesfield North and have been heralded as leading lights in the campaign to triumph in the next general election.

Their future is uncertain after being suspended, amid allegations they have been inviting people to their Merry Hill home to take part in sex acts.

Reports have claimed that the pair have been charging people up to £150 to take part in lewd activities behind the curtains of their immaculate end-of-terrace house in Telford Gardens.

The couple are alleged to have advertised their “services” in an adult magazine using the same contact number as their political websites.

One shocked neighbour, who did not want to be named, said the Bournes appeared to be a respectable couple.

He said: “We can’t believe it. We always thought they had a lot of visitors but we just assumed they were friends.”

Last year David, a governor at St Bartholomew’s Primary in Penn, was unveiled as one of a trio of councillors picked by the Tories to head up their Black Country campaign team.

The 66-year-old – first elected in 2003 – is one of the authority’s senior councillors, as cabinet member for children and young people and a member of the standards committee.

Carol, aged 49, was elected last year as commentators hailed the David Cameron-effect for the party winning extra seats in the city.

Councillor Peter Bilson, deputy leader of Wolverhampton City Council until Labour was ousted in the May elections, said: “If this is fact they would lead to resignations. This is not good for the council.”

Leader of the Tory-Lib-Dem alliance at Wolverhampton City Council Neville Patten declined to comment, saying only: “They are suspended pending an investigation.”

The couple were today unavailable for comment.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Labour Minister - Harassment

A Government Minister’s career was hanging in the balance last night after he admitted bombarding a young female aide with suggestive phone messages.

Ivan Lewis, a 41-year-old Health Minister, issued a statement apologising for sending dozens of mobile phone text messages to Susie Mason, a 24-year-old assistant who worked in his private office in Whitehall.

After complaining to her bosses, Ms Mason was moved to a different job before resigning from the Civil Service to join an accountancy firm.

Apologetic: Ivan Lewis with estranged wife Juliette

Apologetic: Ivan Lewis with estranged wife Juliette

‘He was obviously attracted to Susie, but his behaviour went well beyond acceptable office boundaries,’ a Whitehall source said.

‘It wasn’t just one or two messages - there were dozens, and the content was over-familiar. This must have spooked her enormously.’

It is understood the incident was reported to officials at the Cabinet Office at the time but no action was taken against Mr Lewis.

A Department of Health spokesman confirmed last night: ‘In 2007 a member of staff in the private office of Ivan Lewis informed her managers that she was unhappy with the nature of her working relationship with the Minister.

‘The situation was handled professionally and sensitively in full accordance with the employee’s wishes. She raised no formal complaint against the Minister and all the actions to resolve the matter were agreed with her. It was in that context that the decision was taken at the time not to pursue the matter further.

‘At her request she left the Minister’s office and was given another job in the department. She was a hard-working, extremely competent employee and we were sad to see her subsequently leave the department. The Minister in question apologises unreservedly.’

Aide Susie Mason, as pictured on her profile on the Facebook website

Aide Susie Mason, as pictured on her profile on the Facebook website

The revelation is the latest blow to Gordon Brown’s attempt to mount an autumn relaunch for his beleaguered administration, and evokes echoes of the way economic distress and sexual scandal combined to bring down John Major’s Government.

At the time Mr Lewis was making his unwelcome overtures in early 2007, he was approaching 40 and had just left his wife of 16 years, Juliette, and their two sons for a 50-year-old married councillor in his Bury constituency.

He separated from his wife in June 2006 after meeting Margaret Gibb at local political meetings. The relationship with Mrs Gibb is also believed to have now broken down.

Ms Mason, a slim, attractive brunette who is now 25, was appointed as one of Mr Lewis’s two Assistant Private Secretaries (APS) after he became a Minister at the Department of Health in May 2006.

After Ms Mason made her complaint, she was moved to a slightly more junior position elsewhere in the department before being offered a job of equivalent status to an APS, which lies near the bottom of the Civil Service career ladder but is regarded as a stepping stone to fast promotion.

Source and Full Story

Monday, September 01, 2008

Norfolk Tory jailed for rape

A former Tory politician has been jailed for six and a half years for five sex offences involving three girls, including one charge of rape.

Stephen Mullins, 52, formerly of Links Avenue, Hellesdon, was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court today .

The former head chef in the kitchen of the Bull pub in Reepham Road, Hellesdon had earlier admitted two offences of indecent assault against one girl under 14, rape involving the same girl, sexual assault on another girl aged 14 and assault on another young girl.

Mullins was a member of Norwich North Conservative Association for about two years and a Hellesdon parish councillor for about the same time.