Letters confirm 'Wirralgate' recording exists, but smear conspiracy claims remain a mystery

Wirral Globe: Letters confrim 'Wirralgate'  recording exists but smear conspiracy claims remain a mystery Letters confrim 'Wirralgate' recording exists but smear conspiracy claims remain a mystery

The murky world of secret tape recordings, conspiracy and alleged smear campaigns continues to spark intrigue in Wirral Council.

It's a world perhaps more familiar to the likes of John le Carré's George Smiley and assorted spooks from spy fiction than the one normally inhabited by councillors and managers in the committee rooms of Wallasey Town Hall.

But now an exchange of letters between Wirral Council’s political leaders has confirmed the existence of a secret tape which recently has been at the centre of huge controversy.

Whispers concerning the covert recording – alleged to contain evidence of a conspiracy to smear Tory group leader Jeff Green - were given substance at a meeting of the full council in December.

Councillor Green used a Question Time session to ask town hall leader Cllr Phil Davies whether he was aware of the recording - now dubbed "Wirralgate" by council wags.

He said: “It is alleged that a senior member of his administration can be heard using language about a senior officer that is totally unacceptable - and encouraging former council employees to smear me to take the pressure off his own colleagues and gain political advantage.”

Councillor Davies responded at the time that he would seek legal advice, but refused to be drawn on what he described as “unsubstantiated rumours.”

As a result, Cllr Green wrote to him repeating his questions.

The letters, seen by the Globe, reveal the recording is no longer merely an “unsubstantiated rumour.”

In them, Cllr Davies tells the Tory chief: “I was played an excerpt of the recording to which you refer.”

However, the council leader says the smear conspiracy aspect remains a mystery.

“The individuals concerned who brought the excerpt of the recording to my attention did not raise any concerns about an alleged attempt to smear you.

"Nor did they mention you in relation to their concerns."

Councillor Davies evidently heard enough on the tape to worry him though, as he instigated an investigation into a prominent politician in his ruling Labour group using “inappropriate language” against a member of the council’s senior management team.

He continued: “I do take member conduct very seriously.

“With regard to the adverse comment made by the senior member, the investigation concluded the appropriate response was an apology to the officer concerned and a conciliation process.

"This has been done."

His letter concludes “In the light of continued concern regarding this new [smear conspiracy] allegation, I have instructed the chief executive to advise me how an independent investigation into this specific issue can now be carried out.”

Councillor Green told the Globe: “At least I now know a recording exists, even if I don’t know precisely what is on it, or whether these persistent rumours of a smear conspiracy against me are true.

“It is a very unusual situation.”

Comments (15)

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3:05pm Tue 21 Jan 14

PaulCa says...

Let's have it made public just before the local elections, and watch the fallout as the guilty ones go for each other's throats, whether they're involved on the tape itself or involved in the shambles of a cover up.
Let's have it made public just before the local elections, and watch the fallout as the guilty ones go for each other's throats, whether they're involved on the tape itself or involved in the shambles of a cover up. PaulCa
  • Score: 14

3:11pm Tue 21 Jan 14

WirralAl says...

“It is a very unusual situation.” Lets face facts its and unusual council. They can get away with lies, wasting millions of tax payers money bullying, theft and corruption so a little slander is water off a ducks back!! No rules for them but watch out if you cross them!!

No change in the clown hall!!

As always smoke, bull and denials.

Proof that they are a joke! Again!!
“It is a very unusual situation.” Lets face facts its and unusual council. They can get away with lies, wasting millions of tax payers money bullying, theft and corruption so a little slander is water off a ducks back!! No rules for them but watch out if you cross them!! No change in the clown hall!! As always smoke, bull and denials. Proof that they are a joke! Again!! WirralAl
  • Score: 11

5:29pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Joeblogg85 says...

The Leader of the Council and his Chief Exec told Roger Phillips that Wirral had changed and was getting better at telling the truth ;-/
The Leader of the Council and his Chief Exec told Roger Phillips that Wirral had changed and was getting better at telling the truth ;-/ Joeblogg85
  • Score: 5

6:19pm Tue 21 Jan 14

mandylou1101 says...

blah blah blah same old crap will someone get a grip of these idiots if an apology has been given you can disclose the facts and move on but as usual we have to have an independent investigation....yaw
wwwwwwwwwwwn..just deal with it and stop making this borough the laughing stock of the country
blah blah blah same old crap will someone get a grip of these idiots if an apology has been given you can disclose the facts and move on but as usual we have to have an independent investigation....yaw wwwwwwwwwwwn..just deal with it and stop making this borough the laughing stock of the country mandylou1101
  • Score: 6

7:32pm Tue 21 Jan 14

PaulCa says...

mandylou1101 wrote:
blah blah blah same old crap will someone get a grip of these idiots if an apology has been given you can disclose the facts and move on but as usual we have to have an independent investigation....yaw

wwwwwwwwwwwn..just deal with it and stop making this borough the laughing stock of the country
Unlike other councils, this one has no means of properly securing a truly independent investigation. Because there is no external investigations policy - which sidelines and stifles us, but suits them down to the ground.

Because there's no public oversight, all the wheeling and dealing is done out of sight. Even Richard Penn, who is supposed to have investigated Norman, Coleman, Green and Taylor Smith admitted that he was never asked to declare that he had no prior connection or affiliation. He insisted that he'd made his own voluntary declaration... but how do WE the paymasters know?

4 week delay "investigator" Rob Vickers secured a paid position on completion...

...and allegedly banks an annual six figure sum. For services rendered?
[quote][p][bold]mandylou1101[/bold] wrote: blah blah blah same old crap will someone get a grip of these idiots if an apology has been given you can disclose the facts and move on but as usual we have to have an independent investigation....yaw wwwwwwwwwwwn..just deal with it and stop making this borough the laughing stock of the country[/p][/quote]Unlike other councils, this one has no means of properly securing a truly independent investigation. Because there is no external investigations policy - which sidelines and stifles us, but suits them down to the ground. Because there's no public oversight, all the wheeling and dealing is done out of sight. Even Richard Penn, who is supposed to have investigated Norman, Coleman, Green and Taylor Smith admitted that he was never asked to declare that he had no prior connection or affiliation. He insisted that he'd made his own voluntary declaration... but how do WE the paymasters know? 4 week delay "investigator" Rob Vickers secured a paid position on completion... ...and allegedly banks an annual six figure sum. For services rendered? PaulCa
  • Score: 11

8:40pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Thepleb says...

PaulCa wrote:
mandylou1101 wrote:
blah blah blah same old crap will someone get a grip of these idiots if an apology has been given you can disclose the facts and move on but as usual we have to have an independent investigation....yaw


wwwwwwwwwwwn..just deal with it and stop making this borough the laughing stock of the country
Unlike other councils, this one has no means of properly securing a truly independent investigation. Because there is no external investigations policy - which sidelines and stifles us, but suits them down to the ground.

Because there's no public oversight, all the wheeling and dealing is done out of sight. Even Richard Penn, who is supposed to have investigated Norman, Coleman, Green and Taylor Smith admitted that he was never asked to declare that he had no prior connection or affiliation. He insisted that he'd made his own voluntary declaration... but how do WE the paymasters know?

4 week delay "investigator" Rob Vickers secured a paid position on completion...

...and allegedly banks an annual six figure sum. For services rendered?
I am well adverse to council scrutiny as yourself paulca, and it was made very public to colleagues,family and friends when I was investigated later found nothing to answer for, no public apology as expected, they have their own rules and procedures, but I would suggest a public enquiry in the council chambers conducted by our elected m.p,s play the tape and let the people involved explain their actions and deal with them under council's rules and procedures adhered to by every council worker.
[quote][p][bold]PaulCa[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mandylou1101[/bold] wrote: blah blah blah same old crap will someone get a grip of these idiots if an apology has been given you can disclose the facts and move on but as usual we have to have an independent investigation....yaw wwwwwwwwwwwn..just deal with it and stop making this borough the laughing stock of the country[/p][/quote]Unlike other councils, this one has no means of properly securing a truly independent investigation. Because there is no external investigations policy - which sidelines and stifles us, but suits them down to the ground. Because there's no public oversight, all the wheeling and dealing is done out of sight. Even Richard Penn, who is supposed to have investigated Norman, Coleman, Green and Taylor Smith admitted that he was never asked to declare that he had no prior connection or affiliation. He insisted that he'd made his own voluntary declaration... but how do WE the paymasters know? 4 week delay "investigator" Rob Vickers secured a paid position on completion... ...and allegedly banks an annual six figure sum. For services rendered?[/p][/quote]I am well adverse to council scrutiny as yourself paulca, and it was made very public to colleagues,family and friends when I was investigated later found nothing to answer for, no public apology as expected, they have their own rules and procedures, but I would suggest a public enquiry in the council chambers conducted by our elected m.p,s play the tape and let the people involved explain their actions and deal with them under council's rules and procedures adhered to by every council worker. Thepleb
  • Score: 4

8:47pm Tue 21 Jan 14

PaulCa says...

But if you involve a puppet master, that's like asking Graham Young to come and make the tea.
But if you involve a puppet master, that's like asking Graham Young to come and make the tea. PaulCa
  • Score: 5

8:57pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Joeblogg85 says...

PaulCa wrote:
But if you involve a puppet master, that's like asking Graham Young to come and make the tea.
May I remind everyone this is Wirral a Council we are talking about. This is where the abnormal is normal. The policies and procedures don't mean a thing. When will the leadership get it? It's actions and not spin that counts. All this double talk started a few years back when a certain council worker came to prominence. It's all gone downhill since. Shambolic!
[quote][p][bold]PaulCa[/bold] wrote: But if you involve a puppet master, that's like asking Graham Young to come and make the tea.[/p][/quote]May I remind everyone this is Wirral a Council we are talking about. This is where the abnormal is normal. The policies and procedures don't mean a thing. When will the leadership get it? It's actions and not spin that counts. All this double talk started a few years back when a certain council worker came to prominence. It's all gone downhill since. Shambolic! Joeblogg85
  • Score: 8

6:00am Wed 22 Jan 14

MDRyUK says...

I really don't know what to write here .... I agree with many of the comments made by readers already. I suppose the politicians will all say "it's par for the course" ... and maybe it is! However, politics or not, why do the rest of us put up with so much c**p? I don't know. I reckon the situation will continue to deteriorate at Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street and we "the people of Wirral Borough" will sadly pay the consequences!
I wouldn't be a local politician, as they say ............ for a BIG clock. Likewise, I wouldn't like to be a local government Officer (Senor rank) for a BIG clock either!
Let's just see what happens as we move forward toward 31st March 2014 and beyond that towards the May 2014 local elections.
Great article Leigh, enjoy your style and approach.
I really don't know what to write here .... I agree with many of the comments made by readers already. I suppose the politicians will all say "it's par for the course" ... and maybe it is! However, politics or not, why do the rest of us put up with so much c**p? I don't know. I reckon the situation will continue to deteriorate at Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street and we "the people of Wirral Borough" will sadly pay the consequences! I wouldn't be a local politician, as they say ............ for a BIG clock. Likewise, I wouldn't like to be a local government Officer (Senor rank) for a BIG clock either! Let's just see what happens as we move forward toward 31st March 2014 and beyond that towards the May 2014 local elections. Great article Leigh, enjoy your style and approach. MDRyUK
  • Score: 4

9:46am Wed 22 Jan 14

JohnON says...

Towards next May, I suspect staunch Labour supporters will find it all highly amusing; staunch Tory supporters will be none the wiser; and the other 68% won't give a monkeys.
Towards next May, I suspect staunch Labour supporters will find it all highly amusing; staunch Tory supporters will be none the wiser; and the other 68% won't give a monkeys. JohnON
  • Score: 5

3:13pm Wed 22 Jan 14

BillyBradford says...

Oh Pip! What a fine mess you've gotten yourself into? Did I hear truth and transparency?
Oh Pip! What a fine mess you've gotten yourself into? Did I hear truth and transparency? BillyBradford
  • Score: 6

8:28pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Positive thinker says...

Imaginations running wild as usual
Imaginations running wild as usual Positive thinker
  • Score: -12

10:50pm Thu 23 Jan 14

benny07 says...

sounds like cllr brian kenny puttin the knife in again,with his side kick ,cllr jean stapleton,well well .!!!,
sounds like cllr brian kenny puttin the knife in again,with his side kick ,cllr jean stapleton,well well .!!!, benny07
  • Score: 5

8:23am Fri 24 Jan 14

reliant22 says...

benny07 wrote:
sounds like cllr brian kenny puttin the knife in again,with his side kick ,cllr jean stapleton,well well .!!!,
benny07:
Can you tell us more?
If you have access to the `Wirralgate tape`do tell please!
[quote][p][bold]benny07[/bold] wrote: sounds like cllr brian kenny puttin the knife in again,with his side kick ,cllr jean stapleton,well well .!!!,[/p][/quote]benny07: Can you tell us more? If you have access to the `Wirralgate tape`do tell please! reliant22
  • Score: 5

3:58pm Sun 26 Jan 14

benny07 says...

patience ,there all panicking,who is gonna get there labour coller felt,first,then its every men & woman for themselves,,keep an eye on the lot of them at wallasey town hall.,no wonder there droppin with stress.!!
patience ,there all panicking,who is gonna get there labour coller felt,first,then its every men & woman for themselves,,keep an eye on the lot of them at wallasey town hall.,no wonder there droppin with stress.!! benny07
  • Score: 4

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