In an extraordinary outburst on Facebook Labour shadow leader of Thanet District Council, and wannabe South Thanet MP, “Raging” Rick Everitt accused supporters of the Save the Granville campaign of having “no grasp of reality” and making “defamatory” statements about his partner, RTC/TDC councillor, Corinna Huxley.
Everitt’s aggressive and threatening comments relate to a statement made by Cllr Huxley at a Ramsgate Town Council meeting on 27 April 2022 in which she is claimed to have said that her cousin might be making a bid to buy the Granville Theatre.
Naturally, those who wish to save the Granville Theatre have a right to know if elected councillors, who have the power to dispose of public owned assets, may have a conflict of interest in that process. That’s why questions were rightly and properly asked about councillor Huxley. After all we do live in a democracy in which our politicians are supposed to be accountable to those they represent.
But democratic accountability seems to be something which short fused “Raging” Rick Everitt only seems to recognise once every four years when he’s up for election. And instead of providing an honest factual explanation of what his partner may have said, he threatens and abuses instead.
Having said that, I find it very strange that councillor Everitt speaks on behalf of his partner on this matter. Surely councillor Huxley is perfectly capable of speaking for herself. She is the best person to explain to the public what she said about her cousin and a bid to buy Granville Theatre. And, unless there is good reason not to, it is her personal duty, not Everitt’s, to be accountable to the public for her actions and statements as a politician.
I’m also astounded that councillor Everitt’s comments on Facebook about the his partner’s utterances at the RTC meeting do not appear to tally with truth. He states that “Corinna says that it is categorically untrue she said anything of the sort” and that “my extended family don’t live in the area, neither do Corinna Huxley’s, and none of them would have any interest in taking over the Granville anyway”.
I have extracted a short clip from the recording of the RTC meeting (see below) in which Corrina Huxley says “my first cousin might be putting in a bid (to purchase the Granville Theatre – my insertion) so I might have an interest in it. That’s in the Localism Act”.
So clearly it’s not the “defamatory”, “no grasp of reality”, Save the Granville Campaign who are the villains of this piece, but councillor Rick Everitt who twisted the truth about what was said at a meeting, at which he wasn’t present, and in so doing took the public, who he is supposed to represent, for fools.
But this is more than a fuss about a 20 second video clip. This is a matter which, like the Boris Johnson Partygate scandal, strikes at the very heart of standards in public life with many politicians, including Everitt and Huxley, believing that the rules of conduct which they are supposed to follow only apply lesser mortals than themselves.
TDC’s code of conduct for elected members requires that a councillor must declare all “significant” interests if participating in meetings where matters relating that significant interest are discussed. A significant interest is defined by the code as being:-
an interest (other than a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or an interest in an Authority Function) which:
(a) affects the financial position of yourself and/or an Associated Person; or
(b) relates to the determination of your application for any approval, consent, licence,
permission or registration made by, or on your behalf of, you and/or an
and which, in either case, a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts
would reasonably regard as being so significant that it is likely to prejudice your
judgment of the public interest
An “associated person” is someone:-
who is a family member or any other person with whom you have a close association, including your spouse, civil partner, or somebody with whom you are living as a husband or wife, or as if you are civil partners”.
Clearly, a first cousin would fall within the category of an
This means that matters relating to her cousin, such as a potential property purchase from the council, would mean that councillor Huxley had a “significant interest” in that matter.
TDCs code of conduct for members says that:-
Where you are present at a Meeting and have a Significant Interest (and you are aware that you have such an interest) in any matter to be considered, or being considered, at the Meeting, you must:
(a) disclose the Interest; and
(b) explain the nature of that Interest at the commencement of that consideration
or when the Interest becomes apparent (subject to paragraph 6, below); and
unless you have been granted a dispensation:
(c) not participate in any discussion of, or vote taken on, the matter at the
(d) withdraw from the Meeting room in accordance with the Authority’s Procedure
Rules whenever it becomes apparent that the business is being considered;
(e) not seek improperly to influence a decision about that business.
The actions of councillor Huxley do not, even by the most generous interpretation of the rules, comply with TDCs code of conduct for elected members.
Her statement that her cousin might be submitting a bid to TDC to buy the Granville means that councillor Huxley had been in communication about this matter with her cousin before the meeting took place, perhaps more than once. How else would she know about it?
Yet knowing this information councillor Huxley failed to formally announce her significant interest at the beginning of the meeting as is normally required.
When she did finally mention the matter, which was well into the discussion about the Granville, she did so only as a brief casual and passing remark which cannot be credibly construed as a formal declaration of interest by councillor Huxley. Indeed, no declaration of interest by councillor Huxley about the Granville, or any other matter, is recorded in the official minutes of that meeting.
In case of the deployment of slippery weasel words, by barrack room defamation lawyer, Everitt, let’s be clear that the Huxley's words were not used in a hypothetically, illustratory example, context.
Lets also be clear that the use of the phrase “might be submitting” in the context of a councillor’s requirement to declare and interest , is interchangeable, with the phrase “has been submitted”. So there’s no possibility here of sneaking away from responsibility by playing on words, as is often the case with Everitt.
Furthermore, contrary to the code of conduct for members, councillor Huxley remained at the meeting whilst knowing and admitting, albeit casually, that she had interest in the disposal of the Granville Theatre. She also participated in the debate on the matter. In fact during the discussion she deliberately sought, in my opinion, to improperly influence a decision about that business.
Those who watch the full debate (video on RTC website) will see that following suggestions from councillors Wing and Ara that RTC should seek ownership of the Granville as a community asset, councillor Huxley forcefully opposes the idea saying that the council is “not a theatre manager”.
Knowing that her cousin might be trying to purchase the Granville, councillor Huxley’s objection to the community asset transfer of the theatre to RTC, might be seen by many as an attempt to eliminate a disposal method which might get in the way of her cousin’s bid. If true that would be an act of corruption and misconduct in public office, which is a criminal offence.
Shocking as this allegation might be, this is not the first time councillors Huxley and Everitt have played fast and loose with the Thanet councils code of conduct for councillors, the requirements of the Localism Act 2011, and the Seven Principles of Public Life (the Nolan Principles).
I have written extensively about how I believe the dodgy duo, broke every rule in the councillor conduct rule book by failing to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest in Parkway station which is likely to provide their nearby home with uplift in value of about £100,000 (see links below).
With more and more council property, such as the Theatre Royal and the Winter Gardens likely to be disposed of to avoid TDCs likely financial collapse, we have to be certain that sale processes are open, transparent, and accountable, and that councillors, and for that matter officers too, are not abusing their influence to corruptly enrich or advantage their friends, family, business colleagues or themselves.
Sadly for the people of Ramsgate I fear that wannabe Thanet south MP, Rick Everitt and his partner councillor Corinna Huxley have shown themselves to be less than conversant with the integrity, truthfulness and honesty expected of them by the public, their code of conduct, the Nolan Principles, and the law. To me there is a unpleasant whiff of old fashioned gutter politics about them.
Perhaps a public apology to the Save The Granville supporters he so aggressively threatened and abused might be an honourable thing for wannabe Labour MP Everitt to do. And most importantly of all a full public statement from councillor Huxley herself about about her cousin’s application to purchase the Granville; was it submitted, and what information and advice did she or councillor Everitt provide to her cousin about the bid?
I emailed councillor Huxley to seek her comments for inclusion in this article. But like the truthful, accountable, and selfless politician she claims to be, she did not reply.
Huxley, Everitt & Parkway Station