In August 2016, Richard Smalley was found guilty of electoral fraud in his attempt to become Conservative Councillor for the Allestree Ward; he stated a false address on his nomination paper. The incident was fully investigated by the Derbyshire Constabulary – no one else was found to be at fault or complicit in the fraud, beyond Smalley himself.
On a number of occasions since then, Cllr Shanker has raised the issue, in Full Council, about the fact that 3 sitting Conservative Councillors signed Smalley’s nomination paper – the implication being that there was something sinister; he has always called for the 3 people to be named. One such occasion was the Council meeting on 25th January 2017 when Shanker was displaying the nomination paper ( photographed by Derby News from the public gallery).
At the next Council meeting on 6th March 2018, Shanker is proposing the following motion ( my emphasis)
“Council applauds the joint working between our own Elections team and Derbyshire Constabulary in bringing Christopher Fernandez to justice for election fraud.
“This successful prosecution, like others before it, can give the people of Derby confidence that those who try to corrupt our democratic processes will not be allowed to get away with it.
“Council notes that despite repeated previous opportunities, three sitting councillors have failed to declare their involvement in a previous case, in which they signed the nomination forms supporting a fraudulent candidate.
“Council believes the declaring of this information in a public forum would provide further assurance and transparency to the people of Derby.”
The persons signing any nomination forms is not a secret, it is a matter of public record.
The 3 Councillors who signed Smalley’s nomination form were Cllr Webb , Cllr Potter, and Cllr Grimadell.
Given the outcome of the court case, there is nothing for the 3 Councillors to “declare”. The motion explicity states that the Councillors were “involved” suggesting that they were complicit, despite the investigations concluding the opposite. This is very dangerous ground and could easily be construed to be libellous.
The suggestion that publishing the names would “provide further assurance and transparency to the people of Derby” is spurious as this matter is of little interest to the tax-paying public. It is petty party politicking and the people of Derby would want all Councillors to focus on improving the City and not points-scoring which is only of importance to those who sit in the Council Chamber “bubble”
On 28th Febraury 2018, the nomination paper was published by Derby City Council under Freedom of Information.
Categories: Derby City Council