Brent Council’s Standards Board has found leading Tory Councillor Bertha Joseph guilty of three charges of breaking the Councillors’ Code of Conduct. The former mayor of Brent has been suspended from the council for six months after she used £900 in cash donations to buy two ball gowns.
The charges were:
- Failure to register gifts within 28 days;
- Bringing the Mayoralty and Brent Council into disrepute;
- Misuse of money received for personal gain.
The Committee, which includes one member from each of the three main parties and two independent members, agreed to suspend Cllr Joseph from the council for a record 6 months. She had claimed in the London Evening Standard today that she had been the victim of a Labour vendetta against her and this decision was a direct consequence of Party political squabbles. However, such a claim is absurd as only 1 member out of 5 in the committee who were responsible for dishing out the punishment is a Labour Party representative.
For the duration of her suspension, she will no longer receive her councillors and special responsibility allowances of over £11k a year and Labour is demanding that she be removed as Brent Council’s representative on the London Fire Authority, which pays her a further £7k a year. It is worth noting that former Mayor Ken Livingstone objected to Cllr Joseph’s appointment as a representative on the Fire Authority on the grounds of her lack of probity. The Committee also recommended that Cllr Joseph pay the sum of £900 to the current Mayor’s charity to reflect money received from local businesses and used by her to buy clothes for herself.
Councillor Joseph has 21 days in which she can appeal the decision.
Bertha is a former Labour Party Councillor and defected to the Tories in 2007 and is a former Mayor of Brent.