Merton Council cabinet member for education sacked

Merton Council education spokesman sacked

Peter Walker was sacked by Merton Council leader Stephen Alambritis

The poster was advertising an event in support of the Protect Dundunald Rec campaign group, which is against the redevelopment on the Rec to help a school expand

First published in News by

A leading Merton councillor and senior Labour party activist has been sacked from his role as education chief.

Councillor Peter Walker, the cabinet member for education, was dismissed by the Leader of the Council, Stephen Alambritis, this morning.

In a statement, Coun Alambritis said Coun Walker's conduct was "wholly unacceptable" after he was filmed ripping down a poster promoting a campaign group against the redevelopment of Dundonald Recreation Ground.

Coun Alambritis said: "Peter Walker has done excellent work on Labour’s policy of expanding our best performing schools to provide more places for local children.

"However, I regard this conduct as wholly unacceptable. It is not the way the Labour administration does business."

Jenny Baulkwill, who lives in Graham Road, said she was "dismayed" after she saw Coun Walker ripping down the posters for a community event, organised by her 15-year-old son, Ben.

After putting up ten posters on railings around the Rec before Easter, she said her posters had been mysteriously torn down while others were left alone.

After complaining to friends and putting up new posters, an anonymous person captured the councillor, who lives nearby, tear down the posters during a morning jog this week.

She said: "Is this chilling behaviour setting a good example to local children – a local representative caught in the act of vandalism and endeavouring to stymie a local community event for children?

"Because of Peter Walker’s negative actions we have no option but to postpone the event."

Before being dismissed Coun Walker said this morning he was adamant he had done nothing wrong.

He said: "Fly posting and graffiti spoils the environment in areas like Wimbledon, and I will always take legal steps to prevent it.

"As a local resident who for many years has actively been involved in protecting the Rec and its facilities I object strongly to fly-posting in my local recreation ground.

"'Save our Rec', like those who support the expansion of Dundonald Primary School, have every right to put their views across in a legal manner.

"However, I cannot condone resorting to illegal fly-posting as they and their supporters have been doing.

"I call on Save our Rec to publically call on their supporters to desist from this illegal activity."

UPDATE: Read Coun Walker's reply to Merton Council's leader after being sacked.

His duties will be taken over by Councillor Maxi Martin, who will combine her current role as cabinet member for children's services with education.

Councillor Debbie Shears, the leader of Merton's opposition Conservative group, said the ruling Labour group should take one step further and sack Coun Walker from being a councillor altogether.

This afternoon, Merton Council's standards committee was sent a complaint about Coun Walker for misconduct and bringing the council into disrepute - the second time such a complaint has been made about him in as many years.

Coun Shears said: "This is not the first time Peter Walker has opposed the rights of residents in having views different to his own.

"He ignored the results of a public consultation on a new school and in the proposed expansion in Dundonald Recreation Ground.

"This blatant act caught on YouTube brings further into question his suitability of remaining a councillor.

"He should resign immediately and Coun Alambritis should apologise to residents for his behaviour."

Coun Shears' remarks were echoed by Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond, who said: "Coun Walker’s actions were utterly wrong. They showed a complete lack of respect.

"The suspicion is this is nothing to do with illegal fly posting and all to do with someone opposing Coun Walker’s plans."


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Comments (10)

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7:53am Fri 20 Apr 12

tamworth says...

The Cllr's action may have been inappropriate but likewise the people who continue to flypost - attaching posters etc to railings make the place look untidy. After the event has passed they rarely remove the posters but leave them to become a distraction to motorists and passers by.
The Cllr's action may have been inappropriate but likewise the people who continue to flypost - attaching posters etc to railings make the place look untidy. After the event has passed they rarely remove the posters but leave them to become a distraction to motorists and passers by. tamworth
  • Score: 0

7:59am Fri 20 Apr 12

tjames says...

he cannot be sacked as a cllr--it is an elected position. i thought the standards board had, rightly, been abolished
he cannot be sacked as a cllr--it is an elected position. i thought the standards board had, rightly, been abolished tjames
  • Score: 0

9:05am Fri 20 Apr 12

labouroflove says...

Peter Walker wasn't sacked for tearing down posters. This was the pretext for which he was sacked. We should be told exactly what his "crimes" were.
Did he attempt a putsch to takeover Merton Council's Labour Administration? Are he and Andrew Judge really a "Gang of Two"? Did Stephen Alambritis sack Cllr Walker in moral outrage or self defence?
...but most of all; Peter is always banging on about "party discipline", so what was he thinking when he ripped down that 15 year old boy's posters in the age of Twitter, Facebook, smartphones and Youtube?
Peter Walker wasn't sacked for tearing down posters. This was the pretext for which he was sacked. We should be told exactly what his "crimes" were. Did he attempt a putsch to takeover Merton Council's Labour Administration? Are he and Andrew Judge really a "Gang of Two"? Did Stephen Alambritis sack Cllr Walker in moral outrage or self defence? ...but most of all; Peter is always banging on about "party discipline", so what was he thinking when he ripped down that 15 year old boy's posters in the age of Twitter, Facebook, smartphones and Youtube? labouroflove
  • Score: 0

10:21am Fri 20 Apr 12

labouroflove says...

....they're calling it Walkergate on Twitter...
....they're calling it Walkergate on Twitter... labouroflove
  • Score: 0

10:22am Fri 20 Apr 12

labouroflove says...

....they're calling it Walkergate on Twitter...
....they're calling it Walkergate on Twitter... labouroflove
  • Score: 0

10:33am Fri 20 Apr 12

SAR1969 says...

It's Postergate!
It's Postergate! SAR1969
  • Score: 0

10:49am Fri 20 Apr 12

Tony from Surbiton says...

I really don't see what he's done wrong. He is a paid and elected member of the Council and he is doing exactly the job I would expect him to do when he sees illegal flyposting on Council property.

Everyone likes to give politicians a kicking, but this is just ridiculous.

Mrs Baulkwill should be ashamed of herself for condoning the actions of her child. Perhaps the Police or Social Services should be paying her a visit for her lack of care over her child.
I really don't see what he's done wrong. He is a paid and elected member of the Council and he is doing exactly the job I would expect him to do when he sees illegal flyposting on Council property. Everyone likes to give politicians a kicking, but this is just ridiculous. Mrs Baulkwill should be ashamed of herself for condoning the actions of her child. Perhaps the Police or Social Services should be paying her a visit for her lack of care over her child. Tony from Surbiton
  • Score: 0

12:11pm Fri 20 Apr 12

mertonman says...

Peter Walker's excuses are self-rightous nonsense! I live right by the scene of this incident and posters are frequently put up for events, lost cats etc and not removed. Peter Walker was selectively removing posters he did not agree with (I note he left the poster for the Merton Art show at the other end of the railings). His furtive manner, checking to see if anyone was coming, moving to the bin and away again belie his claim of acting in civic interest. How ridiculous politicians of this ilk appear when they are caught red-handed and try to justify themselves. Well done Stephen Alambritis for acting promptly and decisively.
Peter Walker's excuses are self-rightous nonsense! I live right by the scene of this incident and posters are frequently put up for events, lost cats etc and not removed. Peter Walker was selectively removing posters he did not agree with (I note he left the poster for the Merton Art show at the other end of the railings). His furtive manner, checking to see if anyone was coming, moving to the bin and away again belie his claim of acting in civic interest. How ridiculous politicians of this ilk appear when they are caught red-handed and try to justify themselves. Well done Stephen Alambritis for acting promptly and decisively. mertonman
  • Score: 0

6:52am Sat 21 Apr 12

tjames says...

again labour is imploding--good
again labour is imploding--good tjames
  • Score: 0

11:10am Mon 23 Apr 12

parksaver says...

hilarious...both the video and the "open letter"...I'm sure his party colleagues and the voters of Figges Marsh can't wait to see the back of a man noted only for his intellectual pomposity
hilarious...both the video and the "open letter"...I'm sure his party colleagues and the voters of Figges Marsh can't wait to see the back of a man noted only for his intellectual pomposity parksaver
  • Score: 0

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