Archive | May, 2010

Lib Dem regional party secretary Dave Browne threatens legal action and suspension to 21 year old Plym Membership officer for raising questions about 2007-2008 accounts.

13 May

Below the secretary of Devon & Cornwall Liberal Democrats, Mr Dave Browne responds to the newly elected 21 year old  membership officer of the Plymouth Party (Tom Sale) who raised concerns about missing party accounts and whether someone known to be responsible for the missing accounts should be on the Plymouth party exec (Stephen Goldthorpe). Dave Browne responds by threatening to suspend the membership of Tom Sale and implying that legal action against him. Despite known concerns about Stephen Goldthorpe the regional Lib Dem party put him up as an approved candidate for the Plymouth City Council elections 2010.

Regional party secretary, Dave Browne also claims that the regional party and the electoral commission investigated the Plymouth accounts and that no substantive issues were found. This Blog can reveal that this is not true as the electoral Commission have said that they were never informed of the missing money and that they are presently considering an investigation into criminal proceedings relating to the 2007-2008 Plymouth Party accounts. Did Dave Browne know about the missing money in 2007-2008? Was he involved in the regional investigation? Did he help cover it up?

From: Dave Browne []
Sent: 17 January 2010 10:57
To: (s) Thomas Sale
Subject: Your Stephen Goldthorp e-mail
Your e-mail of the 16th January, subject ‘Stephen Goldthorp’ has been passed to me
by a concerned member.
Can I make a few points:
1. The matters you refer to were investigated by both the Regional Party’s
Investigator (A former Regional Treasurer) and the Electoral Commission (who police
the PPERA). Both came to the conclusions that there was no action to be taken.
2. Since these matter have been correctly dealt with, your pursuing them could leave
you open to legal action by the person you are defaming.
3. Suspending people in the Liberal Democrat Party is only done in the most extreme
cases where their membership revocation is underway. It must be done formally in
line with the English Party’s Membership Rules Section 7.0. If you have not followed
these to the letter then you could be subject to disciplinary action yourself.
4. These matters occurred before you took office, and therefore should not concern
you, obviously you have only been given part of the story. Beware of people who only
tell you half of the truth for their own ends. The Plymouth Party should be fighting
to beat the Tories and Labour to get Liberal Democrats elected, not trying to
justify certain deluded persons’ vanity trips.
Dave Browne
Secretary, Devon & Cornwall Liberal Democrats
Information in this email is confidential and may be privileged. It is intended for
the addressee only. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender
immediately and delete it from your system. You should not otherwise copy it,
retransmit, nor use or disclose its contents. Unless explicitly stated, details in
this message do not reflect the opinion of the Liberal Democrats. Thank you for your
Dear executive members,
I have been very concerned by the fact that Stephen is part of our executive
committee. I would like to remind you all of what was disscussed at the AGM,
regarding the accounts for the 2007 financial period. Stephen was the treasurer for
that period, and the lack of information regarding the accounts caused a lot of
tension amongst the members. Having read the constitution and also the Political
Parties Elections, and Referendum Act 2000, I am now aware that the party is in
breach of law regarding keeping accurate records of the accounts for a period of 6
years and making these accounts available to the electoral commision. To summarise
Stephen Goldthorp is responsible for the missing accounts and I do not think it very
wise to have him as a member of the executive whilst the accounts are investigated
(decision of AGM) and we do not know whether he is implicated in anything worse.
Therefore as an executive member I think it prudent that Stephen is temporarily
suspended from the executive whilst the accounts are investigated, subject to the
findings of the investigation.


Was Colin Breed MP’s constituency office in South East Cornwall used by Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate Karen Gillard to run a business from?

6 May

Was Colin Breed MP’s constituency office in South East Cornwall used by Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate Karen Gillard to run a business from? Has the Liberal Democrat Party investigated this by examining the parliamentary telephone line records?

In a copy of a letter seen by this Blog, a former employee of South East Cornwall Liberal Democrat PPC Karen Gillard gives an account of witnessing breaches of parliamentary protocol in particular using an MPs constituency office and parliamentary telephone lines for commercial purposes

To The English Candidate’s Chair of the Liberal Democrat Party

12 December 2009

Dear Ms. Jarvis,

I worked for Karen Gillard from 24/03/09 to 06/05/09 and left her employ because of her conduct. On 19/06/09 I contacted the regional party chair to discuss my concerns about Miss Gillard’s conduct. I also made enquiries to the candidate’s office on 02/07/09.

The circumstances of my complaint are as follows:

Miss Gillard invited me to work for her under the auspices of a political internship with the Liberal Democrat Party.

The majority of the work I did for Karen Gillard from 24/03/09 to 06/05/09 was in Colin Breed MP’s constituency office in Liskeard.

Miss Gillard used a Member of Parliament’s constituency office for her commercial telephone canvassing business.

The majority of my work for Karen Gillard was not political but was instead commercial, for her telephone canvassing business.

Parliamentary telephone lines were used for commercial telephone canvassing.

Parliamentary telephone lines were used to canvass for party political purposes in the run up to the local elections.

Work on commercial telephone canvassing was prioritized over constituency political canvassing on Miss Gillard’s instruction.

There are further matters that have come to my attention that I suggest should be considered by the party at a senior level:

Miss Gillard informed me that she was under investigation for ‘missing money’.

Miss Gillard informed me that she was planning the sale of the party’s asset ‘Millbrook Hall’ to fund her own campaign and showed me various papers to that effect.

Miss Gillard showed me an EARS Data CDROM that was the property of the City of Plymouth Party.

Miss Gillard frequently used obscene language in the constituency office and in public.

On informing Miss Gillard of my reasons for wanting to leave; in particular that I had learned that she ‘was being investigated for financial irregularities’ she threatened to sue me for libel if I repeated that statement to anyone else.

On 28/08/09 I was informed by the Plymouth party chair that Miss Gillard had ‘emptied’ the Plymouth Party’s bank accounts. [see enclosed emails from Mr Steve Barton.]

I would be prepared to attest to the truth of this statement in a court of law. I have no conflict in that I do not covet Miss Gillard’s prospective constituency. Copies of relevant documents in evidence are enclosed. I would be grateful for your considered inquiry and advice in due course.

Yours Faithfully,

Confirmation of receipt of complaint

Thank you for your email. As requested I have forwarded this to Sal Jarvis. Please
note that the Candidates’ Office is closed until the new year due to long-term
illness. I shall be working from home so can respond to emails but shall not be in
the office to pick up the mail and forward this to Sal. This will be dealt with in
the new year,

Kind Regards


Maddy Pite
Candidates’ Office Assistant <>
0207 340 4993

Electoral Commission considering investigation into Party accounts under Sec 30 and 31 of FOI Act (Criminal proceedings)

5 May

Our ref: 10/10 Thank you for email. 

My email of 11 March 2010 in which I apologised for the delay in responding to your request was not a Refusal notice and the Commission is fully intent on responding to you request as soon as possible. As I mentioned in my previous email the reason for the delay in responding to your request is that some or all of the information you requested can be considered exempt under the sections 30 and 31 of the FOI Act. 

Application of sections 30 and 31 exemptions are both subject to the public interest test. As you may be aware, a full explanation of how the pubic interest test is carried out is available on the Information Commissioner’s website The FOI Act requires public authorities to comply with requests for information within 20 working days following receipt of the request. In cases where a public authority is considering the application of an exemption that is subject to a public interest test (known as a qualified exemption), the FOI Act requires the authority to reach its decision within such time as is reasonable in the circumstances. We will write to you again by the end of next week, either providing the substantive response to your FOI request or serving a S.17 refusal notice re-stating the exemptions being relied upon with an estimate of the time by which the decision will be made.  


Nassime Chida Business Assistant – DCE  

The Electoral Commission  

Trevelyan House  

Great Peter Street  

London SW1P 2HW  

 Tel: 020 7271 0692  

Fax: 020 7271 0505  

Textphone: 18001 020 7271 0579  

Democracy matters P Please consider the environment before printing this email.  

Sections 30 and 31 of the Freedom of Information Act relate to:  

Section 30(1)(b) – investigations which may lead to criminal proceedings by the authority  

Section 30(1)(c) – criminal proceedings which the authority has a power to conduct  


Electoral Commission says it was never informed about the “Missing Money”

5 May

“your allegation of a missing sum of money. This was not raised at the time nor was it part of the case review conducted by the Electoral Commission. Any allegation of theft would be a matter for the Police. The Electoral Commission takes seriously all allegations of financial impropriety in respect of PPERA seriously” [Note: Allegations were made by Mr Steve Barton (Chairman of the Plymouth Lib Dems not Mr Harding) ]

 Mr Max Harding Data Officer

  City of Plymouth Liberal Democrats

 22 January 2010 Our Ref:A-1144 

 Dear Mr Harding, 

City of Plymouth Liberal Democrats. 

I am writing in response to your letter of 17 January 2010 on behalf of Peter Wardle, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission. The issues you raise in regards to Dr Judy Evans, the EARS data, and alleged breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998 are outside of the remit of the Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commission only has jurisdiction in respect of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA). To be clear, we are only empowered to look into matters that fall within the scope of the regulatory framework within PPERA. The above also applies to your allegation of a missing sum of money. This was not raised at the time nor was it part of the case review conducted by the Electoral Commission. Any allegation of theft would be a matter for the Police. The Electoral Commission takes seriously all allegations of financial impropriety in respect of PPERA seriously. A thorough review was conducted into the financial management of the City of Plymouth Liberal Democrats for the period of 2007 to 2008 during which time a number of people held the post of treasurer. Relevant Party Officers were informed of the conclusions of the review.

 We now consider this matter closed

 Yours sincerely

 Eleanor Pearch

 Enforcement Team Case Worker

 Party and Election Finance

 020 7271 0581

 The Electoral Commission Trevelyan House Great Peter Street London SW1P2HW Tel 020 7271 0500 Fax 020 7271 0505

Plymouth Herald covers the story

5 May

FOUR former leaders of the Liberal Democrats in Plymouth have defected to Labour. 

 Jan Mortier, Tom Sale, Max Harding and Dominic House were all members of the Plymouth Lib Dem executive committee, which was shut down by the party headquarters in January after an extraordinary spell of in-fighting among members.  

At the weekend, they switched sides ahead of the General Election, saying they wanted to join a “campaigning party that is working for social justice”. Read the Article:

Vice Chairman of the Plymouth Party asks regional party to officers to investigate the missing money allegations and is threatened with expulsion by David Allworthy at HQ

5 May

Vice Chairman of the Plymouth Party asks regional party to officers to investigate the missing money allegations and is threatened with expulsion by David Allworthy at HQ

—–Original Message—–
From: Jan Mortier
Sent: Mon, Jan 11, 2010 8:38 pm


By Email:


Mrs Judith Jolly, Chair of South West Regional Liberal Democrat Party
Mr   Dave Browne, Secretary of South West Regional Liberal Democrats
Mrs Kay Friend, Vice Chair of the South West Regional Liberal Democrat Party

Dear Mrs Jolly, Mr Browne and Mrs Friend,

I write with some concern at what I have learnt from a Chairman of my
local party (at the time) on 26th & 28th of August 2009.

The allegations contained herein are quite serious and I would ask
that you investigate them or to clarify if you have already
investigated them as they relate to a period before my arrival in the
region and membership of the Party.

Naturally upon learning of them I immediately approached the police
and recently being in a position to substantiate them, my concerns
have been logged by the local police.

Having informed the Federal Party last year, I feel it only proper to
inform you as Officers of my regional party who no doubt share an
interest in the transparency and good governance of the democratic
process and of course the Liberal Democrat Party.

I would be grateful for your considered inquiry into these matters.

Yours Faithfully,

Mr Jan Mortier

Vice Chairman, City of Plymouth Liberal Democrat Party


The Allegations about missing money can be read here:


The Response from regional party officer Kay Friend to the request for an investigation
—– Original Message —–
From: “Kay Friend”
To: Jan Mortier ; “Dave Browne” ;
“Judith Jolly”
Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 10:13 PM
Subject: Re:
Dear Mr Mortier
May I remind you that at the present time you are suspended from the
Liberal Democrat Party pending the outcome of an investigation.
Therefore none of the addressees of your email are able to discuss
internal party matters with you. I would also remind you that during
the period of your suspension you no longer hold any party offices so
it is inappropriate and misleading for you to sign any correspondence
as Vice Chairman, City of Plymouth Liberal Democrat Party.
Yours sincerely
Kay Friend.
Chairman of the Local Parties Committee
Dave Browne, regional party secretary contradicts Kay Friend’s and David Allworthy’s statements
From: Dave Browne []
Sent: 09 January 2010 10:18
To: (s) Thomas Sale;
Subject: Re: Clarification

Dear Mr Sale:
In response to your questions in your e-mail of the 8th January:

Mr Mortier is still Vice Chair and holds his other posts, albeit he is suspended
so cannot take part in any party activities or communications. He will remain as
Vice Chair until the outcome of the Party’s disciplinary procedure against him. The
outcome of the disciplinary procedure could range from his membership being revoked
or at the other extreme, his suspension being quashed and his resuming his duties as
Vice Chair and other posts.
It is not for you or me to pre-judge the outcome of the disciplinary procedure so
until then he remains in post but suspended.
When the Chair is vacated, either immediately that local party appoints an Acting
Chair or replacement Chair as per its Constitution, or for legal reasons it should
no longer be recognised to exist. However if it is not resolved fairly quickly then the Region, under its
constitutional responsibilities, would have to use its powers to dissolve the City
of Plymouth Party, removing all the Officers and run Plymouth from the Region. (The
two PPCs would remain in place.)

I trust you will find these explanations helpful.

Dave Browne
Secretary, Devon & Cornwall Liberal Democrats

The response from David Allworthy at LIB HQ

—– Original Message —–
From: “David Allworthy” <>
To: ; ;
Cc: Jan Mortier ; David Allworthy
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2010 2:09 AM
Subject: Re: Jan Mortier
Dear Kay

Thank you for forwarding the latest e-mails from Jan Mortier.

For the record the Federal Party has no record of any complaints from Mr
Mortier about the Plymouth Local Party or its affairs.

Taking these maters (which as far as I can see have all already been
dealt with by both the Regional Party and Electoral Commission six months
ago) to the police without going through the correct party processes
first is clearly bringing the Party into disrepute. It will also probably
constitute wasting police time.

It is also clear that Mr Mortier is breaching the terms of his suspension
by describing himself as Vice-Chair when he has been suspended from

I would like to add both of these charges to my fornmal complaint about
Mr Mortier’s behaviour and ask that he is expelled from the party as he
is quite clearly unfit to remain a member given his behaviour over recent


David Allworthy
Head of Compliance and Constitutional Support
Liberal Democrats
4 Cowley Street
Proof that Mr Mortier’s complaint was received by the Lib Dem HQ.

—– Original Message —–
From: “Tamsin Hewett”>
To: Jan Mortier
Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 3:01 PM
Subject: FW: acknowledgment
Dear Jan,

Further to your email to my colleague Maddy below, I can confirm that
we have received your complaint, and it has been passed on to Sal
Jarvis, the Chair of the English Candidates’ Committee for her
consideration. Unfortunately the Candidates’ Office was not fully
staffed when your complaint arrived, so we were not able to forward
the document until after the Christmas break, and Sal was out of the
country on holiday until the 10th January. I am sure she will be in
touch regarding your complaint in due course.

Kind regards

Tamsin Hewett | Head of the English Candidates’ Office
t: 020 7227 1204 | e: | 4 Cowley Street,
Westminster, SW1P 3NB

 —–Original Message—–
From: Jan Mortier
Sent: 10 January 2010 11:40
To: Maddy Pite
Subject: acknowledgment
Dear Maddy,

As you recall, Mid December I sent you my complaint to the English
Candidate’s Chair of the party.

To date I have not received an acknowledgment, only confirmation of
recorded delivery from Royal Mail.

I would be grateful to hear from Ms Jarvis that the complaint has been
received by the party and that it is being looked into.

Kind regards,

Jan Mortier

Vice Chairman of the Plymouth party challenges David Allworthy to investigate Plymouth Lib Dem party accounts
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Jan Mortier
Date: Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 11:23 AM
Subject: Plymouth Party Accounts
To: David Allworthy <>
Cc: Kay Friend <>, Dave Browne <>, Judith Jolly <>
Dear Mr Allworthy,

I have not had the pleasure of yet meeting you but am aware of your
prior involvement in issues concerning the Liberal Democrats in

It saddens me that the party seems to be more interested in pursuing
personal vendettas than natural justice. That several life long
Liberal Democrats in Plymouth have resigned for this reason would
indicate that this is indeed, most unfortunately, the case.

As compliance officer for the federal party you will no doubt be aware
that statutory civil and criminal offences transcend any internal
party process or obligation. For this reason, I cannot accept your
stated opinion regarding my concerns about the allegations made by

I am well briefed by local members of the inadequacies of previous
investigations, and was informed that the local party has been waiting
for a response for over a year from Kay Friend with regard to Deborah
Earl’s, the partner of Karen Gillard alleged involvement in that
controversy. That Miss Friend was involved in my own membership
suspension suggests a possible conflict of interest, as my suspension
was enacted mere days after bringing up questions regarding that
controversy after my election.

You can imagine my surprise when I learned of your response to my
e-mail to regional party officers, wherein I raised a number of
legitimate concerns regarding the allegations of others about the
Plymouth party’s missing accounts and missing money. Your request that
I be expelled from the party, however, seems in line with regional
party officers’ behavior toward other members raising the issue of
Plymouth Party accounts: namely, to threaten them with suspension of
their membership. Perhaps such thinking makes it logical, then, that
it would be more convenient to suspend a local party than to allow it
to investigate its own, potentially illegal, affairs.

Therefore I challenge you to bring to light any wrong doing that may
have occurred in 2007 and 2008 through an independent and thorough
audit of the bank accounts of the City of Plymouth Liberal Democrat
Party as this is clearly a matter of public interest affecting the
reputation of the party.

I refer you to Tamsen Hewitt at your office, with regard to my
concerns raised last year.

Yours Faithfully

Jan Mortier

Plymouth Party treasurer raises concerns about David Allworthy and proposes to “stringently interview” a 19 year old elected officer

5 May

———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: 2010/1/13
To: parl cand   ‘Stuart Bonar’>, Rebecca Trimnell
Cc:  ppc   ‘Judy Evans’>,
1) yes I can make it.
2) The item re; the interview process for Dominic needs clarifying; it
has to be that we discuss the process and designate a date for it to
happen. Recent events make this likel;y to be a more stringent process.
3) Possibly we should discuss the negative noises emanating from Dave
4) In the light of allegations made against me by an, as yet, unknown
individual I have reservations about using my house for any Lib Dem
activity. The allegations are unfounded. To my mind they emanate from
a petty, spiteful wretched creature whom I will make official
complaint against, especially as the nature of the allegations bears
the hallmarks of similar actions.I do not wish to work with such
people. We should perhaps  be looking at some code of conduct for all
members.This in part is a result of the resignation by Dave Jolly and
the reasons behind it.
5) In the light of the above, we will have to be ‘squeaky clean’
interms of how we conduct the meeting etc.
We really could do without the trivial, rather puerile behaviour that
has characterised so much of this last year.