Wirral Council ban Leonora and John Brace from attendance at Claughton byelection count!

Wirral Council ban Leonora and John Brace from attendance at Claughton byelection count!

Ballot Box

Wirral Council ban Leonora and John Brace from attendance at Claughton byelection count!


Ballot Box
Ballot Box by NAS of the Noun Project provided under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States (CC BY 3.0 US) licence Original has been resized and converted to a .jpg file

Updated I asked the Combined Authority Returning Officer Ged Fitzgerald for a decision after I received Wirral’s response but he wrote no too.

Despite attending election counts many times in the past, Wirral Council has banned us from both the Claughton byelection count, Metro Mayoral count and General Election Count.

As far as I have been told by Wirral Council as there are no other press requests to attend the Wirral Claughton byelection count and the Wirral Metro Mayor count that means for the first time in many years no press will be covering the count on the Wirral.

Below is a copy of the email from Kevin McCallum received today. Apparently we’re not organised enough (or maybe it is connected to this article I published this morning)!

This is of course ironic as within the last hour I was praising Wirral Council’s conduct of the election to this point. Perhaps I need to rewrite that!

from: MacCallum, Kevin <kevinmaccallum@wirral.gov.uk>
to: “john@johnbrace.com” <john@johnbrace.com>
date: 3 May 2017 at 10:29
subject: Media Accreditation
mailed-by: wirral.gov.uk

Dear Mr Brace,

Thank you for your request for media accreditation for the LCR Mayoral Election Count and the General Election Count.

The Local Returning Officer has considered your request and has refused it.

Media accreditation is only provided to media professionals who represent bona fide media organisations, which is a criteria you unfortunately do not meet.

This criteria is necessary to ensure the effective and timely management of the verification and count and relevant procedures/processes.

Yours sincerely,

Kev MacCallum
Head of Communications
Communications & Marketing
E: kevinmaccallum@wirral.gov.uk
W: www.wirral.gov.uk & www.wirralview.com

In the interests of completeness I emailed Kevin back just to clarify this covered the Claughton byelection too as it wasn’t explicitly mentioned, I’m therefore including his reply below to that email too.

from: MacCallum, Kevin <kevinmaccallum@wirral.gov.uk>
to: John Brace <john@johnbrace.com>
date: 3 May 2017 at 11:24
subject: Re: Media Accreditation
mailed-by: wirral.gov.uk

Dear Mr Brace

Apologies, the refusal of accreditation also refers to the Claughton by-election.

Kev MacCallum
Head of Communications

If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.

Author: John Brace

New media journalist from Birkenhead, England who writes about Wirral Council. Published and promoted by John Brace, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, CH43 7PH. Printed by UK Webhosting Ltd t/a Tsohost, 113-114 Buckingham Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, England, SL1 4PF.

15 thoughts on “Wirral Council ban Leonora and John Brace from attendance at Claughton byelection count!”

  1. John

    This is extraordinary. Why suddenly now are you banned? Surely the Council as part of promotion of democracy and transparency would wish local coverage? What is to be gained from banning you?

    I also cannot believe nomination papers are secret. This is the very heart of democracy. We comment on a planning application and our names and addresses have to be published, but nomination papers are secret? This is worse than I have seen in developing countries.


    1. Thank you for your comment Gwen.

      All previous attendances at election counts, referendum etc going back over the last two decades at Wirral Council or so there have been no problems with attendance.

      The press can only attend at the discretion of the Returning Officer though. There’s no automatic right in law for those who get a vote to attend.

      “Surely the Council as part of promotion of democracy and transparency would wish local coverage?”

      Maybe that is the way it happens in York. However those running elections are independent of their day job working for the Council.

      Much like myself and Leonora act independently of the Council in this capacity so are they.

      I am concerned at the precedent this sets.

      “What is to be gained from banning you?”

      That’s really a question best addressed to them!

  2. Horrendous.

    We can only assume there is foul play afoot.

    Bulging sacks of “late arriving postal votes” would be the ones to watch out for if you had the chance to watch it John.

    Or… if any BASTARD bothered to turn up. Hope you’re reading this Leigh Marles at the Wirral Globe and whoever works at the Echo since Liam Murphy hung up his dicktophone.

    Most Improved Legalised Bandits.

    1. Oh I could stand outside and film from the pavement, yes.

      It’s just whoever it is at Wirral Council doesn’t want me inside.

  3. ‘They’ don’t want you filming what they DON’T do for the money they claim.

    1. Don’t worry they had that covered.

      To be honest with you, all I could’ve filmed was the result being declared and the acceptance speeches anyway.

      “Cameras are not permitted in the counting area while the Count is taking place.”

      Here’s a copy of the restrictions they placed on press at the count.

      I’ll point out that none of these are legal requirements, it’s just Wirral Council deciding they want to control the coverage of these elections.

  4. I wonder if the Vernon Street judge who practically fell in love with Joe Blott is reading this?

    Of course he isn’t.

    He hadn’t heard of Graham Burgess, but banned him from entering his courtroom when told by the appellant he was a former Wirral CEO who would have brought evidence that conflicted with what Surjit Tour and company had *prepared earlier*.

    Still, wotsisname, the Great Man Who Dispenses Justice will vote here on Wirral, possibly by post (unregulated, unmonitored) and the Returning officer will earn his £15,000 bag of swag by throwing out any strange face he doesn’t recognise or anybody not on message on the night. Then they’ll all collect their bloated salaries, get back to colluding together, leaking information to manipulate their reputation upwards (f*cking long way to go) – whilst secretly detesting each other – and get back to going on holiday to sunnier climes three times year.

    So God’s in his heaven and all’s well with the world.

    /rant not over

    1. I think I got a taste as to the kind of decision-making in your former workplace.

      To be honest with you it’s enough to make one laugh! Sadly I think the last thing the Chief Executives want is to me to laugh at them!

      As to the Employment Tribunal, from my perspective about the only positive result (although this is a bit like saying every cloud has a silver lining) Alison got was Wirral Council saying she could have her job back and they’d never really sacked her.

      Although they appeared to be able to justify it to themselves, from the outside they made a pretty good hash of reducing her pay grade (a demotion).

      It’s understandable she thought that it was payback for blowing the whistle.

      Without a husband as a councillor (then former councillor) do you think her story would’ve been very different?

  5. Then try another route John. One that perhaps may cause them to twitch a little and rethink their deep need to rid themselves of not only you but also The Leaks and Wirral In It Together, for this in simple terms is what this is really all about. Getting rid of you all and controlling ‘the message’.
    Ask them whether or not any of the Wirral View journalistic contributors are given permission to be present, what their role might be and will they combine that role with any journalistic work covering the election Count and then reported upon in a subsequent edition of ‘their’ illicit newspaper the Wirral View.
    Go at it John but go at it and them through another route. Perhaps you can think of some other abstract way of getting where you wish and want to be. There are other doors to open John. Don’t give in my old friend.
    Warmest regards to you both. Rob.

    1. Hi Rob,

      There are 101 ways to achieve the same aim. I can be diplomatic, but if diplomacy fails there are other means of achieving the same aim.

      It is not possible for them or advisable for them or even constitutional for them to seek to control me the way they would one of their employees.

      The Wirral View is in my opinion unlawful (although they do not see it that way) and they have stopped printing it in the lead up to the local elections. I’m not sure if this approach will also be carried on to the general election too. Many of the decisions and some of the meetings between the result tomorrow and the general election have been delayed, cancelled or put on hold.

      This country is changing and that has in rather simplistic terms three feelings it leads to in people. Some welcome the change, some are against the change and others are neither for nor against.

      I can make an educated guess that there will be people from Wirral Council’s press and media side at tomorrow’s count. They will be there of course to be bossy to and to manage the press that aren’t allowed to go there, but more importantly in Wirral Council’s eyes to manage Wirral Council’s reputation.

      I can understand why they don’t want me filming the result when there is a joke about the person announcing it in 2015 (when I wasn’t there), that they accidentally said the person was “duly erected” rather than “duly elected”.

      Not that these things really matter…. I hear the Electoral Commission phoned them to express their concerns. But I would guess Wirral Council reassured the Electoral Commission that a press ban at the count is a good thing. So there!

  6. What an absolute shower!

    Taking Brighton st by storm.

    The law, Electoral Commission, rozzers will do nothing so lanterns and pitchforks will be needed.

    After what I heard at the Mountney tribunal nothing short of it will do.

    john you have well earned your right to a press pass!

    1. It’s ok Nigel.

      I rang the Cabinet Office press office today and asked for a quote (which is ahead of schedule as I had that pencilled in for tomorrow morning).

      More news on that front tomorrow as well as the result of the Claughton byelection and Mayoral election.

      After all this is only a small regional election costing an estimated £2.5 million, does that mean it’s the magic sum that attracts the auditors? Or am I aiming too small?

Comments are closed.

Privacy Preference Center