Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary candidate for the new constituency of Thanet East, “Parachute” Polly Billington, must tell voters the truth about her involvement in what many believe to be a Labour Party coverup of convicted paedophile and former Hackney councillor, Thomas Dewey.
Dewey, along with Billington, were both elected on May 5th 2022 to represent the dual member constituency of De Beauvoir ward in Hackney. On 16th May, just 9 days after the election, Dewey resigned. On 15 August 2023, Dewey was convicted by Wood Green Crown Court for the possession of over a thousand extreme child porn images, including several which fall within the most serious classification.
It has been widely claimed that senior Labour Party officials and councillors were aware of Dewey’s crimes long before he appeared in court, but that they chose to cover this up in order to avoid losing the by election in De-Beauvoir ward created by Dewey’s resignation.
According to the Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, he first heard of Dewey’s crimes when he received a call from Hackney Council’s Chief Executive on 14 May 2022 and was told that Dewey’s home had been raided by the National Crime Agency on 29th April and that he had been arrested for matters related to child porn.
Glanville said that he spoke again with the Chief Executive about Dewey on 16th May 2022. The Labour Pary confirmed to the media that on the 16th of May 2022 Dewey was suspended from membership. On that day Dewey also resigned as a councillor.
Although Glanville was suspended from the Labour Party last week for not being truthful about events, there can be no doubting that on 16th May 2022 a small group of senior Hackney council officers and Mayor Glanville knew all about the 29th April NCA raid on Dewey’s home and his arrest for child porn related matters.
As the most senior Labour politician at Hackney Council it would have been Glanville’s responsibility to brief those Labour councillors who he felt needed to know, about what the Chief Executive had told him. I assume that he would also have alerted senior Labour Party officials in the London region too.
Those Labour figures “in the know” would have given serious thought to how best to manage the news of Dewey’s sudden and surprising resignation from the council, especially the impact that telling the truth about his departure might have upon the byelection it had created.
It is inconceivable that Billington was not one of the select group of councillors who was briefed about the real reasons why Dewey had resigned from his post so soon and so suddenly.
It is also inconceivable that she would not have been part of the discussions and decision making about managing this news and minimising its impact upon the forthcoming byelection.
She was after all a Labour group whip whose job it is to manage the behaviour and personal issues of Labour councillors.
She was also Dewey’s co-councillor in De Beauvoir ward and it would have been astonishing if she hadn't been informed about the real reasons for her collegaues sudden resignation and included in discussions and decision making relating to the management of the fall out from this unexpected event in her ward.
As a former BBC journalist and a public relations professional Billington had extensive experience and knowledge of managing news and its impact. She would have been an extremely useful addition to any group discussing and deciding on how to clean up a political scandal such as this, without too much damage being caused.
It is therefore my personal belief that Billington was very likely to have been involved with other senior Labour figures in the discussions that led the Labour Party to cover up the real reasons for Dewey's resignation and spinning out instead the hugely misleading and decietful explanation that he had resigned for “personal reasons”.
Indeed it has been stated in the media that Billington when asked about Dewey’s resignation repeated the “personal decision” mantra whilst, I believe, knowing full well that he resigned from the council because his home was raided by police officers from the NaCA and that he been arrested on suspicion of possessing pornographic images of children.
To be fair to Billington I thought it only right to ask her about this matter. On 19th August , 4 days after Dewey’s conviction, I emailed her via her Hackney Councillor and Parliamentary candidate email addresses. Here’s what I said:-
I am writing to you in my capacity as a local journalist and perhaps even a future constituent. I would like to ask you a few questions about your former co-councillor in the De-Beauvoir ward of Hackney.
Could you tell me when you became aware of the reasons why Mr Dewey resigned from the council on May 16 2022?
During and before the byelection campaign to fill the vacancy created by Mr Dewey’s resignation could you tell me what explanations you gave party members, canvassers and the public about Mr Dewey’s sudden and unexpected resignation.
Do you support the growing demand by the people Hackney for an independent investigation into Mr Dewey’s resignation and the possibility that the truth may have been covered-up?
Do you agree that political parties must never cover up wrong doing by their members, especially wrong doing such as that carried out by Mr Dewey, in order to mislead the public to gain political advantage?
I am sure that as a prominent politician you are aware of your obligations as set out in the seven principles of public life. I look forward to hearing from you.
Three weeks later I am still waiting for a reply to what I think
are fair and reasonable questions to ask someone who has the ambition to represent the people of Thanet East in Parliament.
It appears that requests made by other journalists to Billington for her comments on his important issue have also been met with silence. Does she have something to hide?
Her lack of candor on such an important issue adds weight to my personal belief that Billington knew, but decided not to tell, the truth about Dewey’s resignation, and that she did so in order to ensure that the Labour Party did not lose the De-Beauvoir by election which took place on 7 July 2022.
I’m not the only one who sees things this way. Hackney Green Party councillors are now rightly calling for an independent investigation :-
The Green Group on Hackney Council is calling for an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Tom Dewey's resignation as Labour councillor for De Beauvoir in May 2022 and the subsequent by-election to fill the vacancy.
We recognise that the charges are subject to court proceedings and we make no comment on these. However, an independent inquiry is needed to establish what the Mayor, councillors and Hackney Labour knew about the circumstances surrounding Dewey's resignation and the fact of his arrest.
Hackney residents were kept in the dark while they were voting in the Council elections and the subsequent by-election in De Beauvoir. It is also concerning that he attended the vote count for the May election, alongside others from Hackney Labour, while under police investigation.
The Green Group will continue to press for full transparency from Hackney Labour and the Council administration.
With the suspension of Mayor Glanville last week for making conflicting statements about Dewey, the case for such an investigation is now becoming even stronger, as is the need for those involved in any cover up, including I believe Billington, to be honest with the public about what they knew, when they knew it, and why they decided to mislead the public about Dewey’s resignation.
You may ask what a political row 80 miles away in Hackney has got to do with Thanet? Well actually one hell of a lot.
What I believe to have happened in Hackney raises some extremely important questions about the character and morals of one of the candidates seeking to represent the people of Thanet East in the forthcoming general election.
From where I stand that person’s character and morals look decidedly dodgy and nowhere close to the standards of behaviour which a reasonable person would expect from someone seeking one of the highest elected political positions in our democracy – a member of parliament.
Polly Billington as an elected councillor in Hackney is bound by the Seven Principles of Public Life (the Nolan Principles) which require her to act with selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and to demonstrate leadership, at all times.
It is my belief that she participated in a cover up of the real reasons why Thomas Dewey resigned so abruptly from his psot as an elected councillor in order to ensure a Labour victory in a byelection cause by his resignation. If this true then I would argue that Billington broke every single one of the Seven Principles of Public Life.
This is all the more remarkable because at the time I believe her to have been engaging in the deceptive Dewey cover up, Billington was also a member of Hackney Council's Standards Committee.
As a member of this committee Billington was personally responsible for upholding and enforcing the authority's councillor code of conduct which is based upon the Seven Principles of Public Life.
But instead of suporting this important work and ensuring that the behaviour of Hackney's councillors was second to none, she was, I believe, hypocritically undermining the comittee's purpose by knowingly emabarking upon the deceit of almost 7,000 voters.
Furthermore, the 2022 Labour Party rule book states that it is the duty of Labour councillors to “uphold the highest standards of probity and integrity” and that the Party “requires its representatives to uphold the highest standards of probity and integrity
Billington’s political boss Keir Stamer recently said about Labour’s Contract with the British People that:-
the very first clause in that contract, is a binding commitment about decency and standards in public life. Of course, these standards already exist. They are known as the Nolan principles: Selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, leadership. So my solemn promise to you will always be to run a government that honours these principles
If my beliefs about Billington are true then it would also be true that she has knowingly and recklessley breached the Seven Principles of Public Life, Hackney's councillor code of conduct, the Labour Party rules for councillors, and last but not least she has shredded Labour’s Contract with the British People long before the party has had the chance to implement it.
The question must therefore be asked whether the voters of Thanet East should have a general election candidate foisted upon them who has, in my opinion, placed selfish ambition and party loyalty before the honesty intergrity, and truthfulness exected of an MP and who also appears to think that the wholesale deception of 7,000 De Beauvoir voters is an acceptable thing to do. I think the answer to that the question will be a resounding no.
I call upon the Thanet Labour party to have a very serious conversation with Billington about her involvement in the Hackney paedophile scandal and to decide whether she is in fact a suitable person to be a Labour MP for Thanet East or anywhere else for that matter.
I also call on Billington to make a full and truthful public statement to the people of Thanet and of Hackney about her role in the Dewey affair instead of stonewalling journalists who, in the public interest, are seeking seeking to hold dodgy politicians to account.
Call out if you have info about “Parachute” Polly which you think I might be interested in please contact me on 07866588766 or email@example.com . Always 100% discreet. Never reveals sources.