Friday, 27 August 2010

Medway Council (Sort Of) Update

As yet no response to my complaint; they have a 5 day target which expires today, so I have the escalation procedure primed and ready to go. So while we're waiting here's another gem about Medway Council courtesy of former councilor John Ward:
Today, [Councillor David Craggs] has resigned!

The reason for the resignation is given in a statement from Mr Craggs in YourMedway, which has just appeared while I was writing this post:

"People will know that I have served as a volunteer special constable on behalf of the people of Kent for the past 17 years, a role that I have held with pride. In the hope that I could expand my community service I stood as a councillor for Medway.

I did not believe there was any conflict between these roles and was unaware that police regulations prevent anyone from holding political office whilst also serving the police."
Like John Ward I wasn't aware that Special Constables were "politically restricted". However he later highlights this below (my emphasis):
... since this story broke on Conservative Home, it has become clear that other councillors and even MPs have been allowed to be Special Constables at the same time, as HERE and HERE. I suspect the reason the Kent Police Authority's policy has been left unclear is to allow for politically-motivated manipulation. I could be wrong; but I do wonder whether the same would have happened if (say) a Labour or Green candidate had been in exactly the same situation...
Medway Council and Kent Police are not very good are they?

Update: John Ward has further information on his blog with a press release, from which this extract comes from:
Kent Police were incorrect, and arguably unlawful. They had even threatened disciplinary action against David Craggs. Because the statutory �Notice of vacancy‘ has now been issued, acting upon David Craggs resignation letter, the electoral cycle is started and cannot be retracted, despite the resignation now clearly being unnecessary, based on wrong advice and arguably extracted under duress.

This means that another election may need to be held, because Kent Police got the law wrong. The situation is virtually unbelievable. Kent Police must bear full responsibility for this situation, and for the extra costs to be borne by the council, candidates and political parties. No explanation or apology has been forthcoming.
His conclusion is:
Yes, this was almost certainly a case of political manipulation, as the timing and other details show sufficiently clearly that a jury would very probably come to that conclusion.
The terms 'Medway', 'cosh' and 'under' come to mind.

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