Earlier in the week, the Tory Group Leader at Cornwall Council Councillor Ferguson publicly via twitter made certain remarks, one of which is totally unacceptable and unwarranted.
The original Tweet from Cllr Ferguson mentioned a ‘story’ in The Daily Mirror on Swindon Borough Council ‘thinking’ of sending its Looked after Children to Cornwall. As you can see from my response, I do not know what other Councils are thinking. I do use social media extensively, but I certainly do not follow every council on what they are doing. Nor had I actually seen or could find this ‘article.’ *I have now found the original article, it is not pleasant and HERE it is.
Of course, I wanted to know what the tweet was about, so the following morning (original tweet was sent late the night). I contacted my Head of Service which Looked after Children comes under, asking if any contact has been made. The response was we have had no inquiries or contact from Swindon Council. Other officers within the service were also asked, with time spent making sure no-one had been contacted
The Cllr Ferguson, followed the original Tweet with this outrageous comment and without any further correspondence early the following afternoon:
On seeing this outrageous tweet, I asked Cllr Ferguson to remove it, or I will report it to the Monitoring Officer. As the contents were beyond fair political boundaries. Sadly, this tweet has not been removed. And therefore I am leaving it within the hands of the Monitoring Officer for investigation.
Putting the tweet aside I still wanted to find out the contents of the papers article. More officer time was spent, including those from the comms dept to find the article and contact Swindon Council for clarification. As by the Guidance, any LA who sends Looked after Children to another LA should inform that LA for various reasons including Safeguarding. I also contacted my counter-part at Swindon for clarification. And this is where I got to the bottom of it all.
The Lead Member for Swindon Council kindly and swiftly replied to my email. And here is where Cllr Ferguson comes unstuck and gets it totally wrong.
You see this article dates back to 2005! Yes 2005. I was not even a Councillor then let alone a Cornwall Councillor. The comment which Cllr Ferguson refers to was made at a committee meeting by the then Deputy Mayor, who subsequently resigned as the Deputy Mayor and Councillor. This has been clarified by the Lead Member for Swindon Council. No wonder I could not find the article from 2005!
This has made the original tweet and the outrageous follow-up more damaging. As Cllr Ferguson made these comments on a very out of date story, that had no relevance to my current role, or Cornwall Council.
As Cllr Ferguson made the comments publicly, I will be seeking a public apology, and the removal of the tweets.
Furthermore, as Cllr Ferguson is a senior politician at Cornwall Council and Group Leader for the Tory Group and should check her facts before she so publicly criticises me and my position as Lead Member for Children and Young People.
With this public response, I can put the record straight.