13 November 2007

Cover-up at Tory-Run Council

From Iran and the US to something just a bit more local: Hertsmere Borough Council, situated in the delightful commuter belt county of Hertfordshire. As one might expect, the council is run by the Conservative Party (28 seats), with the Liberal Democrats as the main opposition (7 seats), and Labour (4 seats) not too far behind.

So, that gives the Tory party a 17-seat majority and boy, have they been (ab)using it. Last month, the Council's Chief Executive, Eden Lee, resigned for what he claims were "personal/family reasons and to allow him to take his career in a different direction".

Except, as every single councillor knows (and a few other people outside their select circle, including the Borehamwood Times), that's not the real reason he resigned, and they're refusing to reveal the truth - the Tory councillors because they don't want to be embarrassed and potentially lose their seats, the LibDem and Labour councillors because they have been threatened with legal action if they do (under the principle of confidentiality). The Council claims it cannot divulge any more information because to do so would be a breach of confidence and the matter is nonetheless a personal one covered by the necessary exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act. This is a lie - it is a public matter and the public have a right to know.

Eden Lee resigned because he was stealing public money. At some point during his tenure at the Council, he started to misappropriate funds from the Council, and the District Auditor is currently investigating where this money has gone.

It is absolutely abhorrent that the Tories are refusing the tell the public the truth - the spineless bastards are refusing even to tell us whether there is currently an investigation! In hiding behind the principle of confidentiality and claiming this is a wholly personal matter, they have shown a complete disregard for the public interest in an attempt to save their own skins.

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