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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
To: thedavebrowne@aol.com; judithjolly@oakleigh.eclipse.co.uk; bkldfc@aol.com
Sent: Mon, Jan 11, 2010 8:38 pm

11/01/2010

By Email:

To

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: https://plymouthcoverup.wordpress.com/about/

 

The Response from regional party officer Kay Friend to the request for an investigation
—– Original Message —–
From: “Kay Friend” bkldfc@aol.co.uk
To: Jan Mortier ; “Dave Browne” thedavebrowne@aol.com ;
“Judith Jolly” judithjolly@oakleigh.eclipse.co.uk
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 Thedavebrowne@aol.com [Thedavebrowne@aol.com]
Sent: 09 January 2010 10:18
To: (s) Thomas Sale; rtrimnelluk@hotmail.com
Cc: judithjolly@oakleigh.eclipse.co.uk; membership@libdems.org.uk; BKLDFC@aol.com
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” <D.Allworthy@libdems.org.uk>
To: bkldfc@aol.co.uk ; thedavebrowne@aol.com ;
judithjolly@oakleigh.eclipse.co.uk
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
membership.

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
weeks.

David

David Allworthy
Head of Compliance and Constitutional Support
Liberal Democrats
4 Cowley Street
London
SW1P 3NB
Proof that Mr Mortier’s complaint was received by the Lib Dem HQ.

—– Original Message —–
From: “Tamsin Hewett” Tamsin.Hewett@libdems.org.uk>
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: tamsin.hewett@libdems.org.uk | 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 <D.Allworthy@libdems.org.uk>
Cc: Kay Friend <bkldfc@aol.com>, Dave Browne <thedavebrowne@aol.com>, Judith Jolly <judithjolly@oakleigh.eclipse.co.uk>
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
Plymouth.

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
others.

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

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

5 May

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: rICHARD LAWRIE rlawrie@hohenlohe.fsnet.co.uk>
Date: 2010/1/13
Subject: EXEC MEETING MON.25TH
To: parl cand   ‘Stuart Bonar’ s.bonar@yahoo.co.uk>, Rebecca Trimnell
<rtrimnelluk@hotmail.com>
Cc:  ppc   ‘Judy Evans’ plasticjudy@hotmail.com>,
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
Allworthy.
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.
Richard

Chair of Devon Cornwall Lib Dems informs 20 year old data officer: He should not have gone to the police

5 May

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Judith Jolly <judithjolly@oakleigh.eclipse.co.uk>
Date: 2010/1/16
Subject: Re: EARS Data
To: Max Harding
Cc: Kay Friend <bkldfc@aol.co.uk>

Dear Max,

Thank you for your email.  I am copying my response to Kay Friend who
is Vice Chair of the Regional Executive and Chair of the Region’s
Local Parties Committee.  As Chair of the region I do not have any
part in these proceedings.  She will be in touch with you about this.
I am sure that you will understand that as a volunteer, and someone in
full time employment this may not be immediate.

I note that you have reported this to the Police.  I would be
grateful if you restricted sensitive emails to party members.

Dave Browne is secretary to the Regional Executive and is among the
most respected and experienced in the party.

As I said above, I am unable to answer the points raised in you last
three paragraphs.

The Local Party’s Committee follows the regional and federal
constitution when dealing with such issues and the policies and
procedures are all adhered to. The Regional Constitution is approved
by the Federal party. Sometimes they appear longwinded and
bureaucratic.  These can be found in the Constitution of the Party.

Sincerely,

Judith Jolly
Chair Executive Committee
Devon & Cornwall Liberal Democrats

—– Original Message —–

From: “Max Harding”
To: <judithjolly@oakleigh.eclipse.co.uk>

Sent: Saturday, January 16, 2010 10:17 PM
Subject: Fwd: EARS Data

Dear Mrs Jolly,

Regarding the two e-mails from Mr Browne to me, I am twenty years old
and carrying out my constitutional obligations as elected Data
Officer.

His two e-mails to me are threatening.

I have reported this incident at Charles Cross police station, (on the 9th of January)

As Data Officer I have access to the online database of Plymouth
members, I can see that there is only one suspended member in
Plymouth. Mr Browne has said that the suspended member is pending
revocation, as Mr Browne is responsible for correspondance on behalf
of the South-West region Liberal Democrat party, would this imply that
a decision has already been made by the party to revoke the suspended
member’s membership before any investigation or hearing is concluded?

Has the investigation been prejudiced by Mr Brownes statement on
behalf of the party?

Is Mr Brownes conduct sanctioned by the party?

Regards,

Max Harding

Lib Dem Council candidate Rebecca Trimnell appoints herself chair of the party two days after Chairman David Jolly resigns

5 May


—————————- Original Message —————————-
Subject: [New Plymouth] Clarification
From:    “Tom Sale”
Date:    Fri, January 8, 2010 10:50 pm
To:      “bkldfc@aol.com” <bkldfc@aol.com>
         “thedavebrowne@aol.com” <thedavebrowne@aol.com>
         “rtrimnelluk@hotmail.com” <rtrimnelluk@hotmail.com>
Cc:      “judithjolly@oakleigh.eclipse.co.uk” <judithjolly@oakleigh.eclipse.co.uk>
         “membership@libdems.org.uk” <membership@libdems.org.uk>
————————————————————————–
Dear Dave Browne, Kay Friend & Rebecca Trimnell,

I am writing to you all as secretaries of the local and regional party following the advice from my conversation with Paul Rustad, English party administrator.

I have come across several things which I need some clarification on. As the membership development officer I have access to and am in charge of making sure the members’ details are kept up to date. I am also aware from the constitution that the local secretary is obliged to inform Cowley street by January 2nd of the composition of the executive committee.
Having recently viewed the database several things have come to my attention.

I noticed that Mr Dominic House has not been included on the executive list, although I clearly remember that he was elected as the Youth  officer without any objections. The only thing I can think of is that a member suggested that his election be subject to a further meeting. however reading through the constitution I can find no reason to base such a stipulation, especially considering that Rebbecca Trimnel was voted in as secretary while not present but without objections. If you could help clarify this situation for me it would be greatly appreciated as I have had a request from Mr House who wishes to know what the situation is.

And, as I am sure you are aware, unfortunately our chairman resigned on January 2nd. Therefore I would have expected the executive list to state that if it had not been edited that David Jolly was chairman, or if it had been updated, that the position of chairman would state vacant. However it currently states that Dr Rebecca Trimnell is chair / convener as of January 4th. Can you please clarify what this means, as well as the party policy with regard to this situation?

Thank you very much for your help, I look forward to meeting you all and working together to ensure a successful year for the city of Plymouth.

Kind regards,

Tom Sale

City of Plymouth Membership Development Officer

21 year old Membership Officer makes a personal appeal to Nick Clegg and is ignored

4 May

21 year old Membership Officer makes a personal appeal to Nick Clegg and is ignored

From: (s) Thomas Sale
Sent: 15 January 2010 21:51
To: nickclegg@sheffieldhallam.org.uk; cleggn@parliament.uk
Subject: FAO Nick Clegg care of constituency officer manager

Dear Sir / Madam,

I am the membership development officer for the Plymouth local party, and I would
greatly appreciate it if you could ensure that Mr. Clegg receives my email with the
attached letters. I am very concerned at what is happening within my constituency
and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards,

Thomas Sale
Membership Officer, City of Plymouth Liberal Democrats

15/01/2010

Dear Mr. Clegg,

My name is Thomas Sale, I am 21 years old and am the current Membership Development Officer for the Plymouth City Liberal Democrats. I joined the party in November after meeting with a group of people who were annoyed by the current state of politics, and the lack of accountability to the general public.

Having attended the AGM I was shocked to learn that there has been a complete lack of financial records for the year 2007. This was brought up at the AGM as many members wanted to have clarification as to what had happened. Once I was elected into the executive, I then saw several emails that had been sent from the previous chairman who had resigned over data issues.

Having read the party’s constitution I am aware that it is the duty of the Treasurer to keep accurate accounts for 6 years and to let the electoral commission have access to these, It is also the role of Data Officer to ensure that the personal data that the party has access to is not being misused.

Unfortunately our newly elected chairman has also resigned, on 2nd Jan. Since then our Data Officer, Max Harding who is 20 years old, has followed up the allegations made by the previous chairman. Unfortunately he has been responded to with emails from the regional secretary, Dave Browne, as well as other officers with very aggressive toned emails. The result of which is that they are threatening to suspend him, I do not understand why officers who are supposed to try to make sure the party complies with legal practice would respond in such a manner.

The AGM also elected Dominic House, 19 years old, a Youth secretary subject to a meeting with the executive. The response to this has been to suggest a “stringent interview” process. I am not sure of the reasoning behind this stringency.

Finally David Browne has threatened that the local party will be shut down in light of the current situation. I do not know what he is referring to by the current situation, all I am aware of is Max’s request for data disks to be returned. Therefore I am asking for your help and advice, clearly there are investigations that need to be made regarding missing accounts and potential data misuse. The regional party do not appear interested in pursuing this, and would rather shut down the party.

I believe in democracy and I think it is only right that our members have the chance to be represented by someone that they voted for. I also believe in transparency and honesty. Therefore I am asking you whether there is anything that can be done to prevent our local democracy from been shut down, and that any breaches of duty are investigated.

Regards,

Tom Sale

Membership Development Officer, City of Plymouth Liberal Democrats

p.s.

I have included the draft minutes of the AGM, and am happy to provide you with any other information that you find relevant.

Electoral Commission says “it was not informed of the missing money”

4 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

A summary of the story

21 Jan

So what’s this all about? Lib Dem HQ and the South West Regional Lib Dems suspended the Plymouth Party branch.

The shut down and follow up debates were reported in the local papers:  The Plymouth Herald and Western Morning News. They cited the reasons as infighting among the executive  and resignations of two chairs and the suspension of executive members.

http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/news/City-Lib-Dem-branch-shut-London-HQ/article-1721483-detail/article.html

The first Chairman to resign was Steve Barton a respected former policeman. He resigned last summer in protest at Plymouth Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate Dr Judy Evans’ misuse of EARS (Election Agents Record System) software and data. EARS is the Liberal Democrat election software that includes all the sensitive data of the population of Plymouth, names addresses, dates of birth and voting history. He also alleged that there was a sum of money missing from the party accounts during the period that Karen Gillard and her girlfriend Deborah Earl were signatories on the accounts in 2007 & 2008.

The second Chairman to resign was David Jolly, a veteran Liberal Democrat who works with children in the courts. He resigned after an email sent to him by the controversial David Allworthy at Lib Dem HQ who had been involved in  the Coun Khan case saying he would not investigate any problems in the Plymouth party, despite the evidence that he held.

A new executive was elected in November 2009, Dominic House age 19 of Plymouth City College Youth Officer, Max Harding, 20 as Data Officer, Tom Sale 21 as Membership Development Officer, and Mr Jan Mortier as Vice chair of the executive committee.

http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/news/looking-future/article-1746910-detail/article.html

The AGM that elected them discussed the missing party accounts for two years (2007 and 2008). The Vice chair suggested these accounts be independently audited, and had his membership suspended within five days by the regional Lib Dem party after a complaint by Karen Gillard who was a tresurer of the Plymouth paty in 2007. The Data Officer, Max Harding, on taking office in 2010 tried to get the local party to comply with Data Protection law by requesting that Karen Gillard and Judy Evans return the Electoral Roll disks to him, and he was threatened with suspension and disciplinary action.

The new Membership Officer raised concerns about the party’s accounts and whether a former treasurer who did not submit those accounts should be allowed on the executive, he too was threatened with suspension of membership by the regional party secretary.

Several executive  members went to the police after the threats and raised concerns about the party being in breach of Data Protection law and laws governing political parties accounts. The regional party officers response was to suspend everyone and shut the party down. A party spokesman in London said: “The financial issues have been the subject of a formal investigation by the regional party and the Electoral Commission, which both said there were no substantive issues.” However in a letter received from the Electoral Comission on 25th of January, the Electoral Commission states that missing sums of money were not brought to its attention and not part of its investigation which focused only on financial management issues.