The value of friendship

Further to the Martin Heatley expenses affair (these three posts), I decided to look at who was sitting on the Standards meeting that gave him the stern punishment of having to pay back £200 out of £2800 in overclaimed expenses, and make an apology before doing the training he should have done years ago on how not to be a naughty boy.

The three members were the Independent Chairman, John Bridgeman CBE and County Councillors John Vereker CBE and Tim Naylor. I had seen an allegation that one of these was, along with Cllr Heatley, a Freemason.

Looking at the registers of interest, I see that indeed, Cllr Vereker lists the Freemasons Grand Charity on his interests. Cllr Heatley lists “Grand Charity 281943” as an interest also. This number is actually that of the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, but this appears to be a slip of the pen/keyboard as the Grand Charity run by the Freemasons is 281942 (of course, it may be a deliberate attempt to make it hard to link Heatley with the Freemasons)

This means that indeed, both Cllr Heatley and one of his adjudicating panel do seem to be involved in the Freemasons. This smells very fishy indeed.

It’s all gone quiet…

Following my posts about Cllr Martin Heatley’s expenses claims, and the easy ride he’s been given over them, I looked up who was on the panel making the decision on the matter.

It turns out that one of them is John Vereker CBE, who happens to be the councillor for the area where I’m living. So, out of  sheer curiosity, I sent him an email to ask (among other things) why overpayments of over £2,500 merit only a repayment of £200 and an apology.

Thing is, I don’t expect to get full answers, as I daresay that Cllr Vereker would not be allowed to go into some of the stuff that the council claim is to be kept from the public. But the guy has not even acknowledged receipt of  my email after 10 days.


Has Cllr Vereker got something to hide? Or is he just too busy to answer a constituent’s email?