Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Libdem Wars - Return of the Independant

In A ward just north of here, in a time... some point last year....


It is a time of turmoil within the Medway Liberal Democrats.The party has split right down the middle as a break away group battles for Independence against the evil COALITION in Westminster.

A young rebel by the name of Andy Stamp has dramatically reported his fellow ward partners for breaches of conduct and reported them to the standards committee.

Now declared innocent he has found himself under attack by the vile forces of the LIBDEMS and now steels himself for a vital defence...

In his letter Andy Stamp has defended his move and said;

I was justified in making my complaint.  .... I felt they had used their position of power to get preferential treatment for housing.

Also that the standards committee believe he did have grounds for his complaint, hence the investigation, but that they could only act on the information given to them by the council and the council felt that

it is normal procedure for councillors to get privileged access when dealing with their own personal issues.

Councillor Stamp was driven to complain on behalf of the residents who he saw on waiting lists for weeks and months and who struggle to get meetings with anyone let alone the assistant to the director of housing in a private office in Gun Wharf. Councillor Stamp also states that the Audit commission found that 33% of people who are in threat of homelessness often have to wait up to six weeks to be rehoused.
Councillor Stamp writes passionately saying that Councillor Sutton bypassed the system and that she should not be allowed to use her rank to circumvent the system.
He then asks three questions;
1.) Was she able to get a meeting straight away with the assistant director of housing in a private office at Gun Wharf to raise her own housing case?
2.) Did Medway council allocate a house for her within a week of the meeting?
3.) Did she recieve a home bond (a deposit and a month's rent) from Medway council?

Que Deborah Upton, an up unto unheard of voice in this debate. She is assistant to the director of housing and was the one to hold the meeting with Councillor Sutton.

I saw Cathy Sutton in my office in my role as monitoring officer. I did not know what the meeting was about beforehand and her housing issues were only part of the issues raised with me. (The rest is of a confidential matter.)
She also says that; Cllr Stamp is aware of this as he has seen all of the information that was released to the Standards committee.

She also goes on to answer the questions for Councillor Stamp;
Medway council did not "allocate" a house to Cllr Sutton. She was advised of several private sector landlords who had suitable property available to rent, and this is the same process that officers follow with clients who are potentially homeless. Cathy Sutton received a Silver homebond from Medway council as she met the council's published criteria.
All clients who meet the criteria are offered a homebond to help them into private rented accommodation, but many choose to wait for social rented property for which there is a substantial waiting list.

So.... From what I can extrapolate no breach has occurred. Cllr Sutton went with Cllr Ruparel to see Ms Upton for several reasons and that Ms Upton followed procedure and did nothing that was out of the ordinary. I understand Cllr Stamp querying this with the Standards board although I think it would have been wiser to deal with it, either internally with in the Liberal Democrat group or spoken to his ward partners rather than make it public at an obviously stressful time for Cllr Sutton. I also think that maybe he should have kept a certain amount of media silence until the outcome of the hearing to show some respect for his former colleagues. That said I do not agree that this should have been rehashed in the "letters to the editor" by an obviously angry Libdem and thus sparking another week of this story with responses but, and I am sure I speak for many on this count, the issue is closed. The committee have read about it, the public have read about it, the solution is clear and it needs to be dropped immediately.

I really hope there is no Episode IV!

For Episode I and II check out;




  1. Well done for this, including setting out the details of what has been claimed, know, and also what the Assistant Director detailed in terms of the exact procedure in such cases.

    As I have mentioned before, on my own 'blog, I was the sole member of the public to hear the principles of what is done in these instances of imminent homelessness, but not specifics such as the "Homebond".

    You are completely correct in that this matter should now be dropped: it would surely look silly, ignorant and/or politically vindictive to the public-at-large if it were to continue, especially now the facts as above are in the public domain.

  2. A very informative piece

    As Shmi said to Anakin "This path has been placed before you. The choice to take it must be your's alone."

    We will wait and see.