Tagged: city councillor

Police drop claim of racism directed AGAINST English Defence League (!)

EDL – thick, white and then some…

> Fascist feelings hurt by comparison with loaf of bread shock ! And on St George’s Day too – the irony of it…

Police investigating a city councillor for sending an allegedly racist message on social media have dropped their case against him.

Dipu Ahad, who represents Newcastle’s Elswick ward, was quizzed by Northumbria Police after members of the public complained he had retweeted an image racially targeting the far-right English Defence League.

But the case was dropped over a lack of evidence and Mr Ahad denies the tweet had racist overtones.

He said: “I’m glad that the Crown Prosecution Service have seen sense and they realise what I do in the community and that the tweet wasn’t racist.

“I’m not saying that I didn’t retweet it, but sometimes you tweet something and it comes up as a link and the picture doesn’t come up.

“This has been a campaign against me from the far right. It is sad that the police have questioned me over this.”

The message is alleged to have been shared on Twitter on March 10 and contains an image of a loaf of bread containing the words ‘white’ and ‘thick’ on its packaging.

Shortly afterwards, he was questioned by the police and spoken to by senior staff at Newcastle City Council after two members of the public complained.

However, friends of Mr Ahad leapt to his defence following the incident.

Aaron Lipsy, Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation in Newcastle, who works alongside him to organise the city’s Holocaust Memorial Day, said Mr Ahad works tirelessly to fight against racism.

Tony Dowling from the National Union of Teachers said he was against prejudice of any kind.

Mr Ahad said the alleged tweet is the latest in a string of smears from far-right groups which include a website that has been made about him.

He said: “From my point of view this has been part of an ongoing campaign from the far-right.

“I work really hard in this community in regards to race relations and everybody knows that.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle   23 April 2014

Benefit fraud councillor claimed £5,000 in allowances – despite not attending a single meeting

A Sunderland city councillor continued to claim thousands of pounds in allowances after being convicted of benefit fraud – despite not attending a single meeting.

Lisa Smiles pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to notify Sunderland City Council of a change in circumstances, when she appeared before city magistrates in September.

She received £2,318 in payments across 12 months, after she did not declare wages and her councillor’s allowance.

She was suspended by the Labour Party, but could not be sacked as a city councillor as she had not been sentenced to at least three months jail, as set out in the Local Government Act 1972.

Smiles, who represented the St Anne’s ward, eventually stood down at the end of January – just days before she faced being booted off the council because she had not attended a single meeting in six months.

But despite attending her last Sunderland City Council meeting on July 24 last year, Smiles continued to claim cash totting up £5,422.99 between her conviction and quitting politics.

The amount is the pro-rata portion during that period, made up of her £8,369 basic allowance, her £6,277 special responsibility allowance as vice chairman of the West Sunderland area Committee, and mobile phone allowance.

Although Smiles has not done anything illegal, she came under fire by members of all political groups on the council.

Conservative Councillor Lee Martin said: “The extra allowance she has claimed is more than the amount she is having to repay for defrauding housing benefit. I’m disgusted.”

Colin Wakefield, leader of the independent group said: “It is incomprehensible that a councillor who has been prosecuted by the council for fraud and thrown out of the Labour group, is still allowed to hold a special responsibility allowance and have her mobile phone bills paid after being effectively ceasing to be a councillor.”

Sunderland Council leader Councillor Paul Watson said: “I wouldn’t condone it at all. I don’t know the reason she hasn’t come in, whether she was just too embarrassed or whatever, I haven’t a clue.

“But if people are not getting the amount of representation the public pay for, it’s the law that needs changing. The law could be expulsion after not attending for a couple of months or a certain number of consecutive meetings. It casts a shadow on all elected members.”

> So all agree it was not a good thing – after the event. Even though it was apparently legal.

What did any of them actually do at the time ? What will any of them do to stop it happening in the future ?

Source – Sunderland Echo,  07 March 2014