THE CONSERVATIVES REMOVE A PROBLEM BUT WE STILL HAVE HIM
The news that Mr Ted Watt-Ruffell had resigned the Conservative Party whip today was trundled out by Cllr Simon Moores on behalf of NTCA by phone calls and not by press release. I am delighted with this news because I suspect that the disgraced Mr Watt-Ruffell was either told 'resign' or we will have to kick you out.
I will ignore Mr Watt-Ruffell's dubious history as a Labour Cllr and not ask the question as to how on earth and why , NTCA ever thought him suitable material to be a Cllr for The Conservative Party and then be elected Mayor by them within Margate Charter Trustees, put him on Planning, make him Chief Whip, have him as Vice Chair of Licensing and protect him in the Rocca fiasco but will instead remind readers that as a Labour Deputy Mayor he did the decent thing a few years ago and resigned when he had a little difficulty with The Magistrates here in Thanet.
So where do we stand now? It has been pointed out to me that, as it had been assumed historically that only fine, respectable members of the Council are elected Mayor and even used to be automatically invited to be JPs, there is no way The Margate Charter Trustees can remove this man who has brought his historic office into disrepute. So I ask Mr Watt-Ruffell who has brought enormous shame on himself and his Office as Mayor, to not be weasely (as IOTG Editor today so aptly described him) but to RESIGN! Press releases that talk about ' intending to step aside' are just not good enough.
Whilst he is contemplating this, he might also like to consider the fact that his electorate in Dane Valley Ward do not want to be represented by a man with a criminal conviction for animal cruelty and I thus urge him to RESIGN as a TDC Cllr. The electorate was abandoned by Cllr 'Panama' Broadhurst but would now be delighted if its disgraced Cllr at TDC went and joined him.
Some interesting snippets have been brought to my attention by our Reporter at Sittingbourne on Wednesday, that I edited for brevity's sake but are now worth considering. It would seem that it was pointed out to him by The Magistrates that if he refused the Medium Term Community Order on the grounds of his Mayoral duties and charity fund-raising, the alternative would be 12 weeks as a custodial sentence. It is also interesting that his solicitor informed the Court that his client was in receipt of Legal Aid and had a declared income of £19,000.
Now I do not know what the Legal Aid threshold is currently set at but for some-one who does a 48 hr week with Probe Security ( ex-Cllr Broadhurst's firm), he might like to ask for a pay rise! Why you might well ask? Simply because his allowances for responsibilities as Mayor and in TDC attract the following deemed and declarable income: Mayor (£11,400); Cllr (£4,500) and Vice Chair of Licensing (£900). This would appear to be a total of £16,800. Clearly something appears odd or does Probe Security really pay its Chief Security Officer less than £2 per hour?
I leave Mr Watt-Ruffell with the thought that he still has the opportunity to do the decent thing and resign with immediate effect as Mayor and resign as a Dane Valley Ward Cllr. If not the cry 'For God's sake go!' will reverberate around Thanet and the 'healing' process cannot begin.