Is Taverham (and Norwich North) beinng "conned" by an Independent wearing a blue rosette ?

In Taverham South in the Norwich North constituency there is a Councillor called Claudette Bannock. She claims on leaflets, in community newletters and at the council to be independent. The question is, how independent is she ?

She is a registered member of the Conservative Party. She turned up to a recent local council by-election count wearing a blue rosette and was clearly part of the Conservative team and she was shown on TV yesterday as one of the crowd of Tory supporters greeting David Cameron on his visit to Norwich North.

This really does beg the question, is Mrs Bannock trying to con us by claiming she is independent when clearly she is a Conservative.

What is more though is the effect this is having on Broadland District Council. She sits there as an independent. This means the independents have three councillors thus allowing them to register as a political group (and one of them therefore gets a leaders allowance). The truth is though that without her the independents could not have a group and the Tories would therefore have to give the chairmanship of the scrutiny committee to the opposition Lib Dems (which they should be entitled to anyway as the main opposition).

When we talk about honesty in politics, and it is one of Chloe Smith's campaign pledges, then isn't it time for some honesty from Conservative's masquerading as independents ?


Simon Gardner said...

Where I live (a very rural area) so-called Condipendents were pretty standard practice.

So no surprises here.

Indeed one always assumed that ALL “Independents” were really Tories.

Hywel said...

I thought you only needed two councillors to qualify as a group.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine how the Tories would boo & hiss at us it was us - Tories dont you just love 'em - not!

Oranjepan said...

I can't add anything to whether she is actually independent, but if she is not and the independent group gains group allowances based on this then it is a serious case of defrauding the public.

I'm not prepared to jump to a conclusion, but it is a matter deserving of more investigation. Questions need asking, answers need giving and sanctions may need to be applying. If it is proved she is a registered Conservative member, will she step down and pay back the money?

Dan said...

Bannock has long been regarded to the right of the Broadland Conservative group.

A number of Broadland "Independents" openly campaigned for the Tories in The Buxton by election earlier this year, when incidentally the former independent member was the Tory candidate.

Norfolk Blogger said...

SHe is not group leader although she does have one of the highest expenses claims of any councillor on the council.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Dan, it jsut strikes me as uterly dishonest. I might make a point of delivering a leaflet to her ward highlightin her dishonesty if she does not bother to properly register as a Tory.

The Green Man said...

Norfolk Blogger,
I think I can shed a little light on the matter. Some seven or eight years ago, the Conservative group on Broadland District Council split. A number of Conservative Councillors at that point re-registered as Independents, refusing to sit with their colleagues. One of those was Claudette Bannock, if memory serves. So the reason she sits as an Independent is not deception. She was first returned to the Council as a Tory, and I suspect that she would have continued to do so had there not been this spat, rather, it is because of an issue with the Conservative group on Broadland District Council.

So, not dishonest, just stubborn there. The former independent councillor for Buxton (once my councillor, by the way), was another of those who left the Conservative group at that point.

Dan said...

The issue was about the resignation of the Chief Executive - the break away group supported him. From memory there were 8 of them, I can think of another three apart from Bannock & Evans. I would be v impressed if Green Man could name the rest....

I do have to say there always have been a number of genuine Independents on Broadland. One of the best has always been George Debbage at South Walsham.