Tag Archives: alex folkes

Some better news for Alex Folkes

In November, Cornwall County Councillor Alex Folkes had to suffer the ignominy of the Council’s Chief Executive writing to local youth organisations and schools saying that he was a “serious and enduring” risk to children. As Alex explained at the time this had its origins in his 2006 arrest after a cloned bank card of his had been used by criminals to access indecent images of children online.

In 2006 (and before I became a councillor) I was one of many people who was arrested when credit or debit card details were found which linked the cardholders to a site containing indecent images of children. I have never viewed any such images nor had I ever visited the site or any others like it. I was able to show the police that my card had been cloned at some time in the past and used illegally for various things including a hotel in Brazil. I reported that at the time and my bank refunded the money. Of course I cannot be sure, but that is how I believe my card details came to be linked to the site as it fits the time my card was used fraudulently. When details are stolen on the internet they tend to come in a package and hackers can also have access to your address, email, password, phone, IP address, etc, which can easily be cloned and used by another person to cover their own identity and make it look like the victim of their fraud is the guilty party. The police searched my computer and other electronic devices I owned. Because I had done nothing wrong, and therefore there was no evidence against me, the police did not bring any charges and they told me the matter was closed.

Now he has had proof from the Metropolitan Police that they found nothing on his computers at the time. He wrote to the councillors in his group at the beginning of this week to say that he was going to seek re-entry to the Liberal Democrats and to the group in light of this. The Cornish Guardian has the story:

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Support fund set up for Alex Folkes

You might remember Stephen Tall’s article about the way Liberal Democrat Cornwall County Councillor Alex Folkes had been treated by his council’s Chief Executive, who had branded him as a “potential risk” to children and written to youth groups to say so. This unelected official even called on Alex to resign as a councillor and publicly said so. All this action was taken despite there being no actual evidence of wrongdoing.

As Stephen said at the time:

Alex is determined to establish his innocence and clear his name (the latter especially hard in cases like this). He has not only resigned from the cabinet but also voluntarily suspended his party membership and referred himself for investigation under the Lib Dems’ own disciplinary procedures.

Cornwall Council and its chief executive Andrew Kerr have a number of questions to answer.

If Cornwall Council has evidence of any wrongdoing by Alex that should be shared with the police so they can act on it. Has this been done? It appears not, or at least if it has the police don’t regard the evidence as meriting re-opening an investigation, according to a police statement reported in the local paper: ‘”We are not investigating him,” the force spokeswoman said. “It is an internal investigation by the council.”

On what basis, then, is Cornwall Council warning local people of a risk posed by Alex, and on what basis is it demanding his resignation? Why has Alex been given no opportunity either to hear the allegations against him, or been subject to any form of due process investigation so he can defend himself?

Cornwall Council’s press statement suggests they have based their decision publicly to name and shame Alex based on information received from the police — yet if the police have decided not to charge Alex with any crime why has the Council used its powers to pronounce him guilty as not charged?

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Independent inquiry to probe handling of allegations against Councillor Alex Folkes

On Sunday, LDV’s Stephen Tall raised serious questions about the handling, by Cornwall Council, of allegations against Councillor Alex Folkes. Now BBC Cornwall reports a new development:

An independent inquiry will examine a council’s handling of allegations that one of its members was a “risk” to children, the BBC understands.

Cornwall Council warned schools and clubs in Alex Folkes’ Launceston ward not to allow him near children.

Mr Folkes has denied any wrongdoing and said he was cleared by police in 2006 after his credit card was cloned.

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Alex Folkes: Cornwall Council and its chief executive have serious questions to answer

Many Lib Dems will know Alex Folkes. He’s a Lib Dem councillor on Cornwall Council, and was a member of its cabinet until earlier this month, when he stood down to “deal with a personal issue”. I noticed it at the time, hoped it was nothing too bad, thought no more of it.

Then on Thursday night I read Alex’s 1,500-word blog-post, ‘The truth about why I resigned and the claims being made against me’.

It is an extraordinary account which, if shown to be true, must surely lead to the resignation of Cornwall Council’s chief executive, Andrew Kerr. It was Mr Kerr who has asked Alex to resign from the council over claims he poses a “potential risk” to children. Last week, without giving Alex any advance notice, the council wrote to all schools and youth clubs in his ward about him and issued a press release to say they had done so. Why? Here’s how Alex tells it:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 25 Comments

Blog of the Year Awards 2012: The Winners #LDBOTY

What’s loosely termed the awards “ceremony” for the 2012 Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year Awards has just drawn to a glittering close. As the last firework fades in Brighton’s night sky, I’m delighted to announce the winners:

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LibLink: Cllr Alex Folkes takes on the tobacco industry

Alex FolkesOn the Local Government Association blog, Cllr Alex Folkes writes:

At a time when all councils are trying to save money, why should an authority be funding both sides of an expensive battle? That’s the case in Cornwall, and many other councils, in terms of the tobacco industry.

On the one hand, in our public health role, we have a duty to work to cut smoking rates. On the other we have pension funds, which are invested for the benefit of our former and current staff and for which members are trustees

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Cornwall Council tightens up second home electoral registration

Cornwall Council members such as Alex Folkes have been pushing for some time for the council to tighten up its implementation of electoral registration rules in the face of the county’s large number of second homes.

Where people genuinely split their time between living elsewhere and living in a second home in Cornwall, they can register at both addresses (though vote in a Parliamentary election at only one of them). However, there are widespread concerns that many people who register to vote at a Cornish second home are not qualified to do so as they only use it as an …

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged and | 5 Comments
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