Monday, 5 August 2019

Expert sent in to help failing Merthyr council was a Brexit Party candidate

There is always a problem when people describe themselves as a" Political Expert" and  whether  you can  take their  political positioning into account if you are to appoint them to a job.
The Wasting Mule reports that
An expert sent in to help a struggling Welsh council has been revealed to be a Brexit Party Parliamentary candidate.
Kate Allsop was announced last month as one of two experts being sent in to support Merthyr Tydfil council after a Wales Audit Office report suggested the authority needed external help to tackle financial challenges, service pressures and leadership and governance problems.

Her official title was as a political adviser to Julie James, the Labour-led Welsh Government's cabinet minister for housing and local government and a fee of £300 a day had been agreed.
For four years, until May this year, she was the Independent Mayor of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. She had originally stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative candidate for the post in 2002. She failed to be re-elected in May, having been defeated by the Labour candidate by just two votes, and subsequently set herself up as a local government consultant.


The 2015 election was fourth direct election for the Mayoralty of Mansfield. The sitting Mayor, Tony  Egginton, had previously announced his intention to retire.Manssfield Independendents ] On 7 May 2015 the candidates were former Labour-member turned Independent Phil Shields, Labour's Martin Lee and Mansfield Independent Forum's Kate Allsop, who after the second round of voting won from Martin Lee with a considerable majority.
Mansfield Mayoral Election 7 May 2015 [5]
PartyCandidate1st round2nd round First round votes  Transfer votes 
TotalOf roundTransfersTotalOf round
Mansfield IndependentKate Allsop17,60437.94%4,99622,60053.4%
LabourMartin Lee17,56237.85%2,15819,72046.6%
IndependentPhilip Shields9,67220.84%
Mansfield Independent hold


The 2019 election took place on 2 May 2019.[15] The candidates were Incumbent Mayor Kate Allsop from the Mansfield Independent Forum (MIF), Conservative perennial candidate George Jabbour, and District and County Councillor Steve Garner, formerly with MIF, standing as an independent.] In late March Mansfield Labour group selected a third candidate in former teacher and civil engineer Andy Abrahams, following the suspension of Cllr Sean McCallum and resignation of Paul Bradshaw.In March 2019, 2015 Mayoral Candidate and former District Councillor Philip Shields announced his intention to run in 2019.[20]
Mansfield Mayoral Election 2 May 2019 [5]
PartyCandidate1st round2nd round First round votes  Transfer votes 
TotalOf roundTransfersTotalOf round
LabourAndy Abrahams6,68129.18%1,2497,93050.01%
Mansfield IndependentKate Allsop5,86024.84%2,0687,92849.99%
IndependentSteve Garner4,82720.47%
ConservativeGeorge Jabbour3,59215.23%
IndependentPhilip Shields2,42210.27%
Labour gain from Mansfield Independent

The Mule continues  
After she was announced by Nigel Farage as the Brexit Party’s general election candidate for Mansfield on Friday, we asked the Welsh Government a series of questions about her appointment as an adviser.
Ms Allsop told us that on Saturday, she received a phone call telling her she had been sacked. The Welsh Government told us she had "stepped down from her role".
The Welsh Government told us: “Kate Allsop has stepped down from her role as independent political adviser to Merthyr council.
“On Friday, Ms Allsop announced that she will be standing at the next general election as a candidate for the Brexit Party. Consequently, Ms Allsop would not be able to discharge her duties as an independent adviser working on behalf of the Welsh Government.”
Cabinet minister Ms James added: “I am grateful for the work that Kate had already undertaken as part of our support package with the council.
“However, as she has declared her intention to stand as an MP it would be inappropriate for her to continue in her role as independent adviser.”
Ms Allsop was hired at a rate of £300 per day plus expenses.
Ms Allsop had previously been described by Ms James as “an experienced political leader” who had been appointed as her political adviser “to provide expertise and work with the political members [in Merthyr] to develop and strengthen working relationships”.
Ms Allsop said: “The way I have been treated is disgraceful, and I am taking legal advice through the Brexit Party. I received a phone call on Saturday telling me I was being sacked.
"It’s nothing to do with my capability – I was getting on very well with the leader and chief executive at Merthyr council. I’m being punished for standing up for democracy by joining the Brexit Party to ensure Brexit is delivered in line with the wishes of the British people.
“The Local Government Association in London recommended me to the Welsh Local Government Association, and they in turn put my name to the Welsh Government.
"At no stage was I asked my political affiliation. I was told my services would be required for six months at about two days a week, but that it could be longer.
“The leader of Merthyr council needs to be mentored, and the Welsh Government is failing in its duty of care towards him.”
 Former Bridgend council Labour leader Jeff Jones said: “I find it extraordinary that this individual was appointed in the first place on the advice of civil servants."She’s on the record in the past as describing herself as ‘true blue’. This is very embarrassing for the Labour government.”
Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney Labour AM Dawn Bowden said: “I am very pleased that the Welsh Government has acted swiftly to deal with the situation. It’s very clear that Ms Allsop’s position was untenable.”

It is interesting to see a person who is  described " but whose role as a elected Mayor was role was quite different from  a council leader who has to balance his own Party or group of councillors  and who can be replaced by a simple vote can really advise said leader except , to recommend they behave  in the same manner as a Mayor.

Could it be that because Ms Allsop had been elected as  a "Independent" , they could make such an appointment  free from accusation of cronyism by looking outside Wales and for some reason seeking the recommendation of  “The Local Government Association in London through the Welsh Local Government Association, 

Indeed it looks like the search deliberately went beyond Wales as too many "Qualified" people were associated with the Labour Party or members of other parties.

Ironically  the Former Bridgend council Labour leader Jeff Jones quoted above is also "an expert" in  local government.

The search for an Independent free from a "political allegiance , has spectacularly blown up in the Welsh Government face.


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