Thursday, 1 October 2015

Something fishy in the town of Hartlepool

Glancing through 'The Peoples Assembly' website my eye was drawn to a list of contact details for supporters to book subsidised coach travel to their protest at #CPC15. Towards the bottom of the list I found this

I was surprised to see a publicly-funded local government email address being used in this way, especially as most councillors are (rightfully) not allowed to use email addresses for political campaigning purposes. A visit to the Hartlepool council website however showed that Mr Jeffries was not listed as an elected member, though I quickly found this page which gave some more information about his role

In fact, a quick Google search returned dozens of references to Mr Jeffries' left wing  political activity in Teeside with each one giving his email address as a point of contact.

From this we must assume that either Mr Jeffries is a full time Trades Union organiser paid by Hartlepool taxpayers, or he is (as stated in his profile piece above) 'employed in local government' and using council time and resources to further his political agenda.

Ironically, in today's online edition of the Hartlepool Mail, the Labour Council Leader is blaming government cuts for the town's deprivation. Perhaps if the Council didn't employ trades union agitators at taxpayers' expense, they would have more money to spend on the core services their community needs.

I have this evening emailed the Council's Monitoring Officer asking if Mr Jeffries' use of Council resources is compliant with the council's code of conduct. 

UPDATED: here is my email to Hartlepool Council's Monitoring Officer, Peter Devlin

Dear Mr Devlin

I believe that you are Hartlepool Council's Monitoring Officer and I am writing to you in that capacity. If I have emailed the incorrect person, please accept my apologies and perhaps you would forward this email to the relevant Officer.

This evening I noticed on The People's Assembly website (link below) a list of contacts for supporters of The People's Assembly to book coach travel to attend a 'Reclaim Manchester' protest at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on Sunday 4 October 2015. I also attach a screen grab of the relevant section of that page, in case the page to which I refer is removed or changed.

As you will see, people from Hartlepool, Darlington, Middlesborough and Stockton are instructed to contact 'Edwin Jeffries' for further details and to reserve tickets on the coach. The email address provided for such contact is
Given Mr Jeffries is not an elected member of Hartlepool Council I assume he must be an employee of the Council as he has a email address. To avoid confusion would you kindly confirm:

1. In what capacity is Edwin Jeffries employed by Hartlepool Council ?
2. Whether the use of Hartlepool Council resources and a Hartlepool Council email server for the promotion of coach travel to a protest rally organised by a pressure group with no formal connection to Hartlepool Council is compliant with the Council's Code of Conduct and the terms and conditions of Mr Jeffries' contract of employment.

Thank you in anticipation of your reply.

Andrew Kennedy

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