MK Conservatives are under pressure to justify selecting a candidate in the local elections who has a history of bullying, intimidation and harassment, and is one of the few people ever in the city to have faced a vote to strip him of an honorary title.
Paul Bartlett has been selected to represent the MK Conservatives for the Stony Stratford ward at the upcoming local elections in May. It can now be revealed that he has a history of proven poor behaviour dating back over a decade, including:
- Being found guilty by a standards inquiry in 2005 of threatening a local business.
- Being found guilty by a standards inquiry in 2005 of bullying and intimidating a member of the public who made complaints against him.
- Being found guilty by a standards inquiry of bullying in 2012.
- Being found to have quit Stony Stratford Town Council as a “sham” to avoid sanction for bullying behaviour in 2012.
- Being found guilty of intimidating a small business owner who he had threatened.
- Being found guilty of misusing the honorary title of Alderman to intimidate a local business.
- Being subject to a vote of MK Council to strip him of his honorary Alderman title.
- Being found guilty last year of bullying a Stony Stratford Town Council employee.
The most disturbing case involving Mr Bartlett was when he threatened to use his honorary title of Alderman to close down the Duke of Wellington pub. In a summary presented to Milton Keynes Council in July 2012, Mr Bartlett was shown to have shouted and sworn at the landlord of the pub. When the landlord complained, Mr Bartlett said he would use his influence as an Alderman to close the pub down. When the landlord of the pub complained, Mr Bartlett sent more abusive emails. The issue was so serious, and his poor behaviour so persistent, that MK Council was asked to strip Mr Bartlett of his Alderman title. A vote did take place, but the then Conservative-led council stopped short of doing so, with MK Conservatives at the time claiming Mr Bartlett had stepped back from politics.
This incident was not the first time Mr Bartlett had been in trouble. Complaints against him date back to at least November 2005, when he had again threatened to use his influence to destroy the livelihood of a local business person, and at least half a dozen complaints have been upheld since that time relating to his bullying and intimidating behaviour. The last was only heard by MK Council at the end of 2018.
MK Labour have now called on Cllr Alex Walker, Leader of MK Conservatives, to suspend Mr Bartlett, and are asking why a person with a known reputation as a bully, and who has been found guilty of several very serious harassment and intimidation complaints, has been allowed to stand for the Conservatives in the local election.
An MK Labour spokesperson said: “Mr Bartlett has a history of very serious complaints against which have been upheld. These are not small matters. They include two cases of threatening small businesses that he would use his influence to destroy them, several cases of bullying, intimidation and threats, and of him misusing his honorary title of Alderman to make those threats.”
The MK Labour spokesperson continued: “He has on more than one occasion threatened to use his “influence,” to take away two small business owners livelihoods. How can the MK Tories believe he is fit to be elected to a position of responsibility in the community? He is a bully and has caused a significant amount of distress to people on several occasions and over a sustained period of time. In case anyone thinks Mr Bartlett has turned over a new leaf, only at the end of last year was he subject to yet another upheld complaint about bullying and harassment.”
The spokesperson concluded: “The Leader of the Milton Keynes Conservatives must immediately suspend Paul Bartlett. The Tories have questions to answer over why they think a man with a history of bullying, intimidation and harassment is fit to serve as a councillor? Paul Bartlett is not fit to stand for election, and it highlights the chaos within the Tory Party at the moment that they could even select such a person. It further calls into question their judgement if he remains on the ballot paper.”