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Betty Booed (part two)

Six weeks ago we reported how Lambeth council leader Steve Reed had mounted a furious attack on ex-colleague Betty Evans-Jacas after she defected to the Tories. Now news reaches us that the town hall standards committee are being asked to investigate.

Evans-Jacas (pictured above) has filed an official complaint against Reed, and Labour group member Cllr Jackie Meldrum, after the leader used his blog to accuse her of trying to “grab extra allowances for herself”, an allegation Evans-Jacas hotly disputes.

In a blog article headlined “Turncoat councillor betrays local people” Reed also revealed a previously undisclosed fact about Evans-Jacas not being able to vote on financial matters after failing to pay council tax on one of her properties.

Councillor Steve Reed

Evans-Jacas argues that it was an innocent error, not an attempt at fraud, which she believes Reed tried to imply.

Reed also quotes an anonymous local resident telling him: “We don’t really think Betty cares about us”.

In an official complaint lodged with the town hall Standards Committee, Evans-Jacas says that Reed followed up that attack with a second article on his blog two weeks later in which the council leader accused her of having “a very poor attendance record at the Fire Authority and over the past twelve months.”

However Evans-Jacas counters that her attendance was due to the severe stroke she suffered, followed by heart surgery, which decapacitated her from any work for six months.

She claims she discussed with Reed stepping down as a councillor due to her health, but Reed asked her to continue as he did not want Labour to fight a byelection.

Evans-Jacas also claims that Reed posted a number of tweets on his Twitter page such as “Feeling sick, found out how much Tories paid Cllr Betty Evans-Jacas to defect.”

In papers seen by OBV Blog, Evans-Jacas says: “I, also, became increasingly dissatisfied with the policy which the Party were pursuing with regard to the Black community in Lambeth, particularly with respect to Black businesses and with regard to those faith communities who had helped us get elected to power; as well as more generally with regard to crime, education, youth services and other issues.”

It is expected that Reed and Meldrum will defend themselves against Evans-Jacas’ complaint. It’s shaping up to be a scrap of David Haye / Nikolai Valuev proportions. We’ll keep you posted.

By Lester Holloway

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