20 May 2019 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lib Dem councillor Lesley Heap has been suspended from her job as a children’s swimming teacher at the Malden Centre after a complaint from a parent that she verbally and physically abused a child in her care. She remains suspended whilst investigation from the centre is ongoing.
In contrast Cllr Heap has been reappointed by Kingston Lib Dems as a Council ‘mental health champion’ for housing and a reserve member of the committee that deals with children’s safeguarding issues.
Former Deputy Mayor, Mary Clark is demanding the council take action. She has written to the Chief Executive to ask him to temporarily remove Cllr Heap from these duties while her suspension from work goes on.
She said, “I am saddened I have had to raise this issue in public, but I have tried to get the council to understand this is an issue of safeguarding – not personality. If you can’t trust someone with a child at work – how can we be sure to trust them on council duties? The Malden Centre recognises there is a safeguarding issue here and it’s time the council does too.
“As mental health champion for housing Cllr Heap has an important role highlighting the need to deal with mental trauma and other stresses – and she may well be involved in dealing with children as part of this role. The council must hold an internal investigation to reassure local people there are no safeguarding issues with Cllr Heap’s continued presence and council duties.
“Cllr Heap clearly has support from Sir Edward Davey and the Council leader Liz Green and I feel it shows a failure in judgement by them – they seem willing to turn a blind eye and sweep important issues under the carpet for the sake of party image rather than a commitment to do what’s right for local people.
“Given the history of the Lib Dems in Beverley ward with former council leader Derek Osbourne – you would have thought they would do everything they can to demonstrate that their New Malden councillors are not a risk to local children. That’s why Cllr Heap should be suspended until we can be sure that she is no threat to children.”
Notes to Editors:
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