The answer is: I don’t know. And although Tower Hamlets council recovered the arrears by deducting the cash from the member’s annual allowance, it is now citing data protection laws to keep the name secret.
But someone knows who it is and I’m hoping you, my dear readers, can help. Comments naming people will not be approved unless there is copper-bottomed proof, but you can always email me with tips or leads.
Yet again, the Tories deserve credit for unearthing this little gem. Here’s their Freedom of Information request, and the council’s response:
Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, I am requesting the following formation:
• Whether any currently serving councillor has received a court summons from the local authority for non-payment of council tax?
• If so, which councillor and what was the result of the action against them?
Can you please include in the response any relevant answers to previous requests and please may I be sent receipt of this request complete with a reference number.
I can confirm that one currently serving councillor received a court summons for non-payment of council tax in the financial year 2012/13
An attachment to allowances was issued to recover the arrears.
The exemption under Section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act applies to the Personal Data of a third party; this information is exempt if its disclosure would contravene any of the data protection principles in the Data Protection Act 1998. This serves as a Refusal Notice in respect of the individual’s name.
In any case, once the council is legally obliged to open its 2012/13 accounts for public inspection later this year, I’m certain we’ll at least then identify the new Councillor X.
[By way of further explanation, I drafted this post on Monday afternoon but then decided to email every non-Tory councillor (the Conservatives had already denied any culpability) to ask whether they would like to come forward before publication. Only three replied: Shahed Ali, Stephanie Eaton and Anwar Khan, all of whom ruled themselves out....tonight, I hear one member has resigned the Labour whip. Whether it's connected to this or not, I don't know.]
Councillor X is Omer Ahmed, who was the civic mayor in 2009/10, and who I understand has had some financial difficulties of late. Labour has decided to stand by him.