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.

Political leaders at the council said it had now been agreed to launch an independent inquiry into the affair.

The allegations by Cornwall Council followed the resignation of Liberal Democrat Mr Folkes on 4 November from a cabinet position citing “personal issues”.

Interestingly, it seems that the Conservative opposition group leader appears to be the main “mover and shaker” behind setting up this inquiry.

Alex Folkes welcomed the probe on his blog:

I cautiously welcome this acceptance by the council that there are significant question marks over the process they have followed.

The inquiry will be able to review the process by which decisions were taken behind closed doors and judgments reached without my having the chance to read and respond to the allegations against me. Indeed, I have still only received a list of claims and no actual evidence from the council that could lead them to reach the conclusions they have.

I am told the inquiry will also look into the decision to make accusations against me in letters to local schools and sports clubs, and the decision by the council to press release this. I hope that it will also cover data protection issues.

I fully expect to be given the chance to have my say to this inquiry and look forward to doing so. I thank the many hundreds of people who have been in touch with me to offer their support and good wishes.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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2 Comments

  • paul barker 26th Nov '14 - 1:43pm

    Good but why didnt they do this in the first place ?

  • David Evans 26th Nov '14 - 1:51pm

    As the FIFA enquiry into World Cup bidding processes showed, the key thing about “independent” enquiries is who publishes the “independent” report, who selects the “independent” investigator and who pays him or her.

    Keep a close eye on it all, Alex.

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