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MK Conservatives have questions to answer over possible cover up

Labour questions why Conservatives took six months to take action against disgraced former councillor.

Labour questions why Conservatives took over six months to take any action against a disgraced former councillor.

The Milton Keynes Labour Party has also raised serious questions over why former councillor Scot Balazs was allowed to remain on the council representing the Conservative Party for almost three months after his criminal conviction, highlighting concerns over a cover up by local Tories to prevent a by-election.

Scot Balazs resigned on Thursday evening after the MK Citizen discovered he’d been convicted of a serious motoring offence that a local business says forced them to close. The offence took place in February, over six months ago and he was convicted in High Wycombe on 18 May. However, he had remained a Conservative councillor with apparently no sanction all that time and for nearly three months after his conviction. He only resigned after being approached by the media.

Now the MK Labour Party are raising questions about what the Conservative Party knew and believe that the issue may have been covered up with the aim of preventing a by-election in his Newport Pagnell seat.

Suspicions of a cover up have been raised as former Cllr Balazs has not been attending MK City Council meetings since May, and he was not placed on any council committees by the Conservative Group at the City Council AGM.

It was common knowledge within the MK Conservative Group and across the council that Mr Balazs had been involved in a road traffic accident, and it was widely known in the council and around Newport Pagnell that he had been the subject of a police investigation.

It has also emerged that former Cllr Balazs attended a public event with the MK Conservative Group in early July while still a councillor but two months after his conviction. The event was attended by Ben Everitt MP for MK North, and over half a dozen prominent MK Conservative councillors and campaigners. Pictures of Mr Balazs and his colleagues at the event have been shared on several social media platforms, including the MK Conservatives Facebook page, although Mr Balazs has now deleted some of his social media accounts. If local Conservatives knew the serious charges against him at the time it would call into question why not only had they had taken no action against him but why they continued to promote him in their political activities.

Mr Balazs remained an active on social media as a Conservative councillor right up until he resigned, ironically posting a message about tackling crime on Tuesday – three months after he had been convicted of a criminal offence.

Mr Balazs represented Newport Pagnell South and won the seat in 2021. He would have been due for re-election at the next set of MK City Council local elections in May 2024. Newport Pagnell South is a marginal seat with a close fight expected after the Conservatives lost in the ward this year. A by-election has now been called, as Mr Balazs has resigned, however if Mr Balazs had resigned after November 2 this year no by-election would have been called, as if a councillor resigns within six months of a scheduled election due in May 2024 no special election takes place.

The MK Labour have therefore issued a number of questions that they believe need to be answered by the MK Conservatives over how they have acted, and if the local Tories have sought to cover up the issue to prevent a by-election.

The questions raised are:

  • When did the MK Conservative Group Leader and his Deputy, or local Conservative Party, become aware that Mr Balazs had been arrested for the offence which took place in February?

  • Was Mr Balazs suspended by the Conservative Group or Party before his trial, or was any action taken against him whatsoever?

  • When was Ben Everitt MP made aware of the arrest?

  • When was the MK Conservative Group Leader and Deputy Leader, Ben Everitt MP, or Conservative Party, aware Mr Balazs was intending to plead guilty to the charges against him, and what action did it take on that date?

  • Why was Mr Balazs not appointed to any council committee on MK City Council for forthcoming year?

  • When was the MK Conservative Group Leader and Deputy Leader, Ben Everitt MP, or Conservative Party, aware Mr Balazs had been convicted of the offences on 18 May 2023, and what action did it take on that date?

  • Where any MK Conservative councillors, Ben Everitt MP, senior local Conservative campaigners, employees of the Conservative Party or the Conservative Party aware of Mr Balazs’s conviction when they attended the Olney Raft Race that took place in 2 July 2023 with Mr Balazs?

  • Why did it take Mr Balazs nearly three months to resign after his conviction?

  • Did the MK Conservatives offer any advice to Mr Balazs over where to have his court case heard?

  • Would Mr Balazs have resigned, or the MK Conservatives have taken any action, if the MK Citizen had not discovered the court report?

  • Did MK Conservatives delay or not reveal Mr Balazs’s conviction in order to prevent a by-election in Newport Pagnell South?

  • Are the MK Conservatives aware if there are any other current investigations ongoing into Mr Balazs given the further revelation he avoided paying a fine issued by MK City Council?

Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of MK City Council said:

“It is always disappointing to discover that any city councillor has resigned because their behaviour. This is a particularly serious case and Mr Balazs was right to do so.

However, I think there are clearly questions that need to be answered about the issue given the offence took place in February, he was convicted in May, and he has only just resigned now after the issue was discovered by a local journalist.”

Chris Curtis, Labour spokesperson for MK North, said:

“The MK Conservatives have questions to answer on this subject as it clearly has the potential to highlight a potential cover-up to avoid a tricky by-election for them in a marginal seat. It certainly has all the hallmarks of Tory sleaze.

If any local Conservative knew about this issue or the conviction before today, why didn’t they act? If they knew about the issue before the Olney Raft Race on July 2, why were they happy to let him continue as a councillor and promote him on their social media channels? It puts the judgment of the entire MK Conservative Party into question, including almost all their senior councillors, the local MP, other candidates and their senior local campaigners. The MK public need answers.

It again shows why good local journalism is needed to hold those in the public eye to account.

I’m glad to see that a local fundraising page has been establish to help the local florts business he helped put out of business with his actions. The local Labour Party will be raising money to help the campaign.”

Cllr Marland concluded:

“Everyone makes mistakes. The key to moving on is to be sure that all the facts are known and there is total clarity. Any apology must be truthful and address all the issues. At the moment it clearly falls short. We need to remember a serious criminal offence has taken place and a local business has been impacted, they are the innocent victims here. There are still questions and gaps in what is known about this issue and I’m sure the local MK Conservatives will be keen to answer them.”

Responding to Conservative Councillor Scot Balazs’ resignation, Deputy Leader of Milton Keynes City Council, Lib Dem Councillor Robin Bradburn, said:

“We’re sorry to hear how local people have been affected by the shocking behaviour of Councillor Scot Balazs, and it’s heart-breaking that a much-loved local business has fallen onto hard times, and as a result has been forced to close due to damage to its vehicle during the crash.

"Mr Balazs’ actions are very serious and for the Conservative Party to have known since 18 May and to carry on as if nothing has happened is sickening.

“The people of Newport Pagnell have been taken for granted not only by Mr Balazs but the Conservative Party, it's time for change and it's time the residents get the answers they deserve."


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