Sunday, 13 April 2014

Cllr Fenwick Still Around

If anyone thought Worcester Park Councillor Stephen Fenwick had disappeared completely following his conviction for racial assault it is not the case. Cllr Fenwick is still an independent councillor representing Worcester Park and as such he turned up at the Mosque appeal hearing on Wednesday and asked to speak. Unfortunately he had to leave to attend an important meeting that afternoon and was no longer available to speak when his turn came up.

He failed to attend the final local area committee for Cheam North and Worcester Park last Thursday and also the final full council meeting of this administration the previous Monday. However as one of the items on the agenda was to remove him from the many committees he sat on, I'm not surprised he didn't really want to be there.

Both Emily Brothers, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Sutton & Cheam and Tony Shields, Conservative councillor representing Sutton South tabled questions asking how long the Lib Dems had known he had been charged with racist assault and why they had only waited until the news hit the local paper about his conviction before taking any action. Although after Ms Brothers' question, Cllr Shields withdrew his question, being as it was, rather similar in nature.

There were also questions raised about why Cllr Fenwick could not be removed as a councillor after such a serious conviction with Emily Brothers branding the council's code of conduct and equal opportunities policies as "paper tigers".

Councillors from both sides agreed that there needs to be, as Cllr Tim Crowley put it, a better "mentoring system to ensure that when things get tough for councillors they don't end up in dark places."

I spoke briefly with Cllr Fenwick on Wednesday during a break at the appeal hearing and offered him the opportunity to put his side of the story via the blog. However he declined to do so saying it was too long ago now. He did appear to be reasonably well and didn't indicate whether or not he is planning to stand again in Worcester Park as an independent councillor in May.