No standards

11 Sep

The mayor has received a complaint about the behaviour of Cllr Ken Clark at this year’s Newham Show.

The email contains considerable detail about the incident, in which Cllr Clark swore violently and at some length at Ahmed Noor in front of other councillors and members of the public. It claims that Cllr Clark’s actions have bought both the council and the Labour party into disrepute. It concludes:

 I request you start an independent enquiry and the Standards Committee considering (sic) the nature of the misconduct by Cllr Clark 

There is a procedure for handling complaints against elected members. It is described on the council website and it is set out formally in Part 2, article 9 of the council’s constitution:

The Monitoring Officer shall be the Proper Officer to receive complaints of failure to comply with the Code of Conduct…

The Monitoring Officer shall, after consultation with the Independent Person(s), determine whether a complaint merits formal investigation and arrange such investigation.  

If there’s an investigation it’s carried out by the Standards Advisory Committee. Not the mayor. In fact the constitution explicitly excludes him from membership of the committee. 

So, even setting aside any concerns about a conflict of interest because of his close working relationship with Ken Clark, Sir Robin only had two options when he received the email: he could have told the complainant that he was not the right person to deal with the matter, and that they needed to write to the Monitoring Officer directly; or he could have passed the matter to the Monitoring Officer, telling the complainant that this was what he’d done.

But of course the rules don’t apply to the mayor and he did neither of those things. Instead, this was his reply:

I am writing to clarify a few things following receipt of your email. Just a couple of questions:

  1. You provide a considerable amount of detail which raises a number of questions. Given the detail I assume you were present and I need a few questions answered. Could you please provide me with contact details, telephone, address etc., so that I can arrange to meet you in person and discuss these questions.
  2. I note that you appear to have used a Council distribution group for all members of the Council which is only available through the Council’s email system. I presume that you got this from a councillor or perhaps a member of staff? If you could provide me with their details I can have a chat with them about the issues.
  3. Just to clarify, you make several references to the Newham Labour Party but I do not believe you are yourself a member. Is that correct? Perhaps you are a member in another Borough?

A quick response so we can meet in the very near future would be very helpful.

Regards,

Robin Wales

There’s no acknowledgement of the seriousness of the allegation, no suggestion that this is matter that needs to be put through the proper channels. Just a bullying and sinister tone. How do you suppose that ‘chat’ with whoever provided the email addresses would go?

Replying to Sir Robin the complainant says:

I am very much puzzled as to why you were far more eager to know my background instead of starting the investigation thoroughly against Councillor Ken Clark

Well, they might be puzzled, but I’m not.

Sir Robin holds the code of conduct and the Standards Committee in absolute contempt. When he was investigated by the Standards Committee last year he refused to even acknowledge the investigation, much less provide any evidence. He and his chums are untouchable. They can behave as they like, without fear of the consequences. 

And as we see in this case, he’d much rather pursue the complainant than any complaint.

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7 Responses to “No standards”

  1. Birdman September 11, 2015 at 11:03 #

    I once made a complaint about Robin Wales to Ken Clark, when he was regional director of the Labour Party. Absolutely nothing came of it and I never got an answer. I left the Labour Party shortly afterwards. I have never understood the relationship between the two bug it is obviously close. The complainant in this case will hopefully realise they have to make the complaint to the Monitoring officer but to what end. These people are so shameless they just ignore any censure and carry on regardless.

  2. terry ball September 13, 2015 at 08:51 #

    what evidence is there that this person was actually on site or is this another anonymous request by his mates to take the heat off of noor ,although it could be a payback request written by a confederate bringing all and sundry in the firing line .I am not a fan of any of the current stock council but I do believe in the old school of justice and if there is no names and addresses attached it should be ignored by the monitoring officer.poison pen letters is what we called them years ago .do councillors have any sight of this letter I wonder ?

    • Martin Warne September 13, 2015 at 09:06 #

      The email was not anonymous – I just decided not to include the name in my post. Having got fed up with the mayor’s unwillingness to deal with the matter the complainant circulated the email chain, including the mayor’s reply, to a very wide group, including (as far as I can see) the whole of Labour group, as well as a large number of Labour MPs, party officials & the press.
      Whether this complaint is a put-up job by Noor I can’t say (though it’s fairly likely), but there is no doubt the incident took place – I’ve heard independent accounts from several people.

  3. terry ball September 14, 2015 at 21:48 #

    just can`t see why a man who was as high up the ladder as clark would lose his temper in public ,there must be something they are not telling about those who were involved in the outburst ,clark knows how the party deals with cases like mr noor and his landlord issues if that is what it was about .ken clark is used to being around prime ministers and labour party hierarchy why would he put his job on the line in this way it does not make sense , I am out of touch with all these new faces is there anything else going on I wonder ? .mind you wales did it at the park as well so might be a case of follow the leader .

  4. terry ball September 15, 2015 at 22:03 #

    is another best mate getting investigated by standards for a something that happened months ago ????

  5. terry ball September 17, 2015 at 07:11 #

    I heard a rumour which is why I questioned who it was .it looks like he has been verbally bullying the worker and has not been suspended and was not answering anyone so thinks he will get away with it .this is arrogance of the system and abuse of position and should not be tolerated by the party or the council ,the union would have had a strike over this years ago, what is their position I wonder and will it be discussed at full council next week or swept under the carpet . how many of the members had knowledge of this incident and when it happened ?i bet it was only a few .wales must be pulling his hair out with this bunch showing his council up again and again I almost feel sorry for him .

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