Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lib Dem Canaries: Manchester Councillor Marc Ramsbottom PPC Leak - The Preamble

STOP PRESS: Later in this post we said: "Unless that is Marc has already moved on. But there is no credible evidence of that so far." Well, a tip off arrived yesterday afternoon in my inbox saying categorically that Marc Ramsbottom has resigned. Don't know why the Manchester Evening News is yet to cover this. It seems to me it is a big story when a PPC and Lib Dem Finance Spokesman resigns with this back story. More anon.


LoL's enquiries are ongoing and we encourage reliable Lib Dem canaries to continue to spill the beans in comments here or by email to idea at mcr1 poptel org uk. Please don't be offended if we remove unsupported allegations in comments or tarry a while in publishing emailed tips, particularly from known Lib Dems.

We quickly removed the remarkable comment on our earlier story. We now bring LoL readers a series of clarifications dealing with every point without perpetuating any inaccuracy. LoL will immediately print any observations on this story from Marc Ramsbottom himself or from any other interested party. And we will amend or delete any proven inaccuracies.


Marc Ramsbottom is now a Ward Councillor for the City Centre Ward. He has previously been a Councillor for Rusholme Ward. And also, after a considerable hiatus but before the latest boundary revision, for Central Ward which had included all of the current CC ward plus further City Centre developments and extensive social housing estates which are now in Miles Platting and Newton Heath Ward or Ancoats and Clayton Ward.

Marc has in recent years been Planning Spokesperson, Deputy Leader, and Joint Budget Spokesman for the Lib Dem Group on Manchester City Council. As the other Joint Budget Spokesman is not credible Marc is in effect Shadow Finance.

Marc Ramsbottom has been a Lib Dem PPC in three different constituencies since 1997 as revealed by THIS LINK and THIS (inaccurate) LINK, putting his carpet bag down most recently in his home constituency: Manchester Central.

Marc is honourably managing a wife, a son in a minor public school, and a partner. He is a Stonewall activist. He may or may not have flirted with mud wrestling in his youth. I'm on a bet there for mentioning that. Sounds like good fun anyway.

Marc Ramsbottom seems to polarise views among those who know him. But LoL agree with those who assert that while he may be a ******** (insert etc) he is one of the more competent and conscientious councillors in the Manchester Lib Dem Group. Faint praise I know, but ILoLHO he would have been a more effective parliamentarian than utter clown Cllr John Leech MP.

Marc reached the Lib Dem coalition by way of the SDP.


Bird of Liberty said: Kassim Afzal (Gorton) and Marc Ramsbottom (Central) were not yet on the Lib Dem Voice "selected list".

TRUE And they are still not THERE or included in recent news items. One of LoL's 2007 predictions is that Kassim will simply not make it in Gorton. LoL plan to blog on the general state of the Liberal Democrat Party's diversity strategy in the not too distant.
LoL veracity rating 100%

TRUE TOO Bird of Liberty described Marc as "the suspended-on-full-pay alleged tax fiddler". Marc is a suspended-on-full-pay alleged tax fiddler. Unless that is Marc has already moved on. But there is no credible evidence of that so far.
LoL veracity rating 90-100%


Our fascination with this sad story is on the question of why Marc and his Trade Union, the AUT, haven't been jumping up and down insisting on an early resolution. It does give Marc time and full pay to flirt with the media and carry on his campaigning activities. But under a cloud surely? The reputational risk of letting the matter of financial probity hang in the air for so long - almost a year already - seems tremendous.

Cllr Simon Wheale pushed things along to an early result when faced with similar problems. LoL think that's the right approach and we urge Marc to do likewise. Better late than never.

Marc continues to have various financially responsible positions within the Lib Dem Group, the Lib Dem Party, and also in professional life, e.g. as a Trustee of the Students Union Superannuation Scheme (SUSS).

Essentially Marc's Boys Own Story, as told to the Manchester Evening News, is that as the General Manager of the Manchester Metropolitan University Students' Union (MMUSU) "student centred with professional standards" he allowed another employee (also LoL hear under investigation) to deliberately fiddle their motor allowances for tax. Marc denies this vehemently.

The MMU or MMUSU or AUT have not commented on this matter. So, apart from finding out by his obvious absence from his job that Marc was suspended, the Manchester Evening News have only had information from Marc himself.

Manchester Labour have commented in a measured way HERE suggesting that while "innocent until proven guilty" is the way forward Marc should not continue with financial responsibilities in the Council Chamber. The statement points out that Manchester Labour immediately suspended the whip on ex Councillor Damien O'Connor when he was accused of fraud.

Damien refused to leave the Council when convicted. He has stood unsuccessfully several times as an Independent. His backers including another former independent candidate who was also involved at one time with the National Front. Damien is now a Liberal Democrat candidate and is, we're told, responsible in the local party for membership and subscriptions.

Manchester Evening News story HERE.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When you say "obvious absence from his job" Chris are you being just a bit satirical? Brother Ramsbottom used to wander from bobbing in to this meeting and that for 10 minutes and then possibly bobbing back to do the job he was paid for to do full time. The students appear to hate him and want shot.