Earls Court Councillor Barry Phelps last month resigned his seat from Kensington & Chelsea, after it was revealed that from his council email account had sent inappropriate emails to a number of unwitting recipients.
The emails contained old fashioned "victoriana" photos of young males, with captions added by Phelps laden with sexual overtones.
Many of the pictures had a nautical theme, with boys either dressed as sailors, wearing only trunks on the deck of a boat, or wrestling on a beach. Another featured a young man standing in front of a menacing-looking priest. The caption read: "Prey. Sorry that should be pray." The barryphelps.posterous.com website has more details.
Fortunately one receipient did the right thing and informed someone in the Residents First group who immediately informed the Council and this set in train the sequence of events that ended up with a double resignation.
Another recipient was the Conservative Councillor for Cremorne Ward, Mark Daley, who had, Hornet understands, set up an auto-rule on his mail account to automatically trash anything authored by the rather email trigger happy Barry Phelps.
This proved Cllr Daleys undoing, since as he failed to report inappropriate emails to the proper authorities he may have been adjudged guilty and therefore also fell upon his sword. Hornet understands the reasons for this but realises Daley is, if the account is true, an innocent party in this rather ugly affair.
Not so much for Barry Phelps, who at previous standards board hearings has had to defend himself from other accusations in the past, such as failing to correctly complete his declaration of interests (Nov2007), but it seems his latest foray into standards board territory was one too far.
Phelps resigned, and so did Daley, that way escaping a deeper probe into the affair which probably would have exonerated Daley but wouldn't have helped Barry's case much.
The by-elections are due to be held on Thursday 16th September 2010.