FIVE Liberal Democrat councillors from
Islington have been cleared of any wrongdoing in a three-year-long
Cleared: Cllr Steve Hitchens
The councillors, including Islington Town Hall leader Steve Hitchins,
were embroiled in a row over the appointment of Islingtons
chief executive Helen Bailey.
The case was brought by the Standards Board for England following
a complaint by opposition Labour leader Mary Creagh, now MP for
Ms Creagh alleged that Islington Council had been brought into
The case was heard by the Adjudication Panel for England
a three man tribunal at their headquarters in Capper Street,
The case hinged on whether Cllr Hitchins was friends
with Ms Bailey, a former high-ranking Liberal Democrat, and he
and his four colleagues had conspired over her recruitment in
The Adjudication Panel for England stated: The Tribunal
is not satisfied that the evidence has shown that there was a
conspiracy or that there was collusion between the respondents
to secure the appointment of Helen Bailey.
The only matter yet to be adjudged is whether Cllr Hitchins covered
up a phone call with former Mayor of Islington Margot Dunn where
they allegedly discussed the appointment of Ms Bailey. The three-year
case is the longest running in the Standards Boards history
and has cost the councillors hundreds of thousands of pounds in
It was heard over three weeks last year with the final decision
and summing up yesterday (Wednesday) and Tuesday.
Lawyer James Ramsden, who represented the councillors, told the
tribunal: (The investigation) was ad hoc and fumbling.
It was a deeply flawed and at times dangerous investigation.