Unfit for Public Office: The case against Caroline Nokes MP
“Help us get justice for our children.” Matt and Nadine O’Connor
Caroline Nokes is the Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton North and the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image. The MP faces serious questions about her own public image following a series of incidents and ongoing court action against her, which raises legitimate questions about her honesty, conduct and suitability for Public Office:
VIOLENCE: Nokes was involved in a violent attack at the home of Fathers4Justice founder Matt O’Connor on 20/2/14 in her constituency, witnessed by O’Connor’s 8-yr-old son, Archie. Nokes drove to London from Hampshire to collect her friend, a Tory spin doctor and Vice Chair of her local Conservative Association, and brought him to O’Connor’s home. He then forced entry onto O’Connor’s property, took photographs of O’Connor’s son, spoke to him, frightening him, then scaled an internal fence and attempted to force entry into the rear of the property, before assaulting O’Connor and his landlord who was savagely bitten. Their son was left severely frightened and traumatised by the attack.
POLICE: The MP was stopped and interviewed at the scene by Hampshire Police and her colleague arrested. Unusually, the involvement of the MP was concealed by Police, the Police file was marked “restricted”, and no charges were brought. Her colleague was later issued a Police PIN Notice for harassment of the O’Connor’s and their son Archie.
THE ROLE OF NOKES: Legal papers state that Nokes shared an explicit common purpose with her friend, who she instructed to act on her behalf. The incident and subsequent and ongoing campaign of harassment formed part of a “campaign of retribution” after a dispute between her and the O’Connor’s relating to broken election promises to introduce shared parenting http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/politics/8092306.Tory_backing_for_family_law_change/?action=complain&cid=8438521%20Caroline%20Nokes%20MP%20has%20said%20she%20no%20longer%20stands%20by%20those%20promises
RISK TO CHILDREN: Court papers state that the MP would have been aware that children were present on the day she drove to the O’Connor’s home, as it was half-term, and that her friend had a known history of violence.
EXPENSES CLAIM: The MP claimed Parliamentary Expenses for travel on the day of the attack, driving four hours from Hampshire to London and back, to collect her friend and bring him to O’Connor’s Hampshire home where the attack took place.
MP LIES TO IPSA: Nokes lied to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority by stating “she did not deviate from her intended route” when she in fact spent over an hour driving around the village where O’Connor lived waiting for the attack to take place.
MP LIES TO CONSTITUENTS: The MP then lied in written correspondence to constituents about her involvement. In an email to a constituent on 22/8/14 Nokes said, “I cannot comment on these claims as I was not there.” In a second email to a constituent on 4/9/14 Nokes said, “I am not aware the police (or the CPS) have ever claimed I was present, and the police have assured me I am correct in this. Obviously, I have not therefore given a statement as a witness to the incident…In short, I was not present and did not witness any incident.”
MP CONTRADICTED IN STATEMENTS: In an email to the O’Connor’s from Inspector Paul Pressley on 2/5/14, it states, “She (Ms Nokes) was treated as a witness by the police to the incident on 20th Feb.” In a court statement by Ms Nokes on 28/10/14 it states: “The Second Defendant (Ms Nokes) admits to waiting in her car for the first defendant.”
MALFEASANCE IN PUBLIC OFFICE: Nokes used her influence as an MP with Hampshire Police to conceal her role in the attack, have the Police file marked “restricted” and dissuade the CPS from pressing charges against her and her colleague for actual bodily harm, assault and and harassment.
This concealment was the subject of a Professional Standards Department report by Hampshire Police, published on 1st September 2014, which upheld a complaint by the O’Connor’s concerning the failure of police officers to identify the involvement of Ms Nokes in the attack.
Nokes then used her influence as an MP to influence the civil courts in February 2015 to attempt to get civil proceedings thrown out before the General Election stating, “Given the Second Defendant’s position as a Member of Parliament with imminent hustings this (case) could be particularly damaging.”
CIVIL ACTION: Nokes faces ongoing civil proceedings for harassment and aiding and abetting the assault against O’Connor, his wife and child. It is claimed that she was instrumental in orchestrating and organising the attacks for political reasons in the run up to the 2015 General Election, but that her campaign continues to this day.
HARASSMENT OF CHILDREN: It is alleged in court papers that the MP orchestrated an ongoing, two-year campaign of harassment with her henchman, targeting the O’Connor’s and their 8-year-old son Archie and his school. This included trying to sell stories to the media about their children and contacting Social Services and the children’s schools to say the children were at risk.
The harassment extends to the posting of hundreds of tweets and posts about the O’Connor’s, Fathers4Justice, their business interests and their son, on social media by agents for Nokes.
This harassment included anonymous hate mail sent to the O’Connor’s on 19/8/14, referring to Ms Nokes, threatening to have their children removed by Social Services, “I am not Ms. Nokes…re the welfare of your child he would need to be removed from your care and placed in a place of safety…so sleep well!!” and another letter on 11/9/14, “In case your invite to Ms Nokes Campaign Opening Party on 20th Sept @ 12 noon at the Old Rectory, practically your neighbours. I am sure it will be such fun. I am sure they will all love to see you, unless you have moved by then.”
On 14/9/14 the O’Connor’s car was smashed in at the secure rear of their property.
On 20/9/14, the MP staged a campaign “drinks party” next door to the O’Connor’s, sending them an invite, asking them to attend.
LIBEL PROCEEDINGS: Solicitors M Law have begun separate libel proceedings against Ms Nokes for fabricated claims made in the media about Fathers4Justice and Mr O’Connor after she was forced to admit her involvement in the attack. O’Connor says they formed part of a campaign to smear her victims and distract from her role in the attack.
JUDGES STEP DOWN: To date one judge has recused himself in civil proceedings, as have all judges sitting in Winchester, because of political connections to the Conservative Party.
THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY: Despite repeated complaints to former Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps and current Chairman Lord Feldman, the party has refused to launch an inquiry into the conduct of Ms Nokes and her colleague, a former Tory spin doctor with close links to several Conservative MPs. In April 2015, Prime Minister David Cameron apologised to Fathers4Justice and the O’Connor’s for making false claims about them.
THE EFFECTS ON THE CHILDREN: 8-yr-old Archie O’Connor was left frightened and traumatised by these events. He felt unsafe at home and at school, as was Mrs O’Connor’s daughter. The family as a whole felt so distressed and unsafe in their home, that they moved from the area for the sake of their children in October 2014.
The Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmcode/1885/188502.htm
Potential breaches of The Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament by Ms Nokes include:
III. Duties of Members
5. Members have a duty to uphold the law
6. Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole; and a special duty to their constituents.
7. Members should act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them. They should always behave with probity and integrity, including in their use of public resources.
V. Rules of Conduct
15. Members are personally responsible and accountable for ensuring that their use of any expenses, allowances, facilities and services provided from the public purse is in accordance with the rules laid down on these matters. Members shall ensure that their use of public resources is always in support of their parliamentary duties. It should not confer any undue personal or financial benefit on themselves or anyone else, or confer undue advantage on a political organisation.
16. Members shall never undertake any action which would cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally.
This is not the first time Caroline Nokes MP has been subject to questions about her conduct:
In 2014 Hampshire Chief Constable Andy Marsh was investigated for leaking details of rape victims at Stanbridge Earls School to Caroline Nokes, which she campaigned to keep open despite children being at risk
In 2010 her £25,000 trip to the African dictatorship of Equatorial Guinea was universally condemned http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/9345732.MP_defends_visit_to_Equatorial_Guinea/
In 2010 Nokes was revealed to have had a four-year extra-marital affair resulting in her divorce http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1286264/Cameron-Cutie-MP-Caroline-Nokess-4-year-affair-toyboy.html
The role of Caroline Nokes MP in the ongoing harassment of the O’Connor family, her blatant dishonesty, the use of her position as an MP to influence criminal and civil proceedings, her refusal to apologise for her role in the incident and her smearing of the victims in a cynical attempt to distract from her role in this matter, are deeply troubling and should be subject to full, independent inquiry by the Conservative Party as well as a full investigation by Kathryn Hudson, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.
Her position as the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image should be reviewed immediately and given the targeting of children in this matter, it would be inappropriate for her to hold any position in relation to children and young people.
Matt O’Connor, father, and founder Fathers4Justice
How to complain
If you believe Caroline Nokes MP is unfit for public office or believe there should be an independent inquiry into her role in this incident, please complain to the following:
TEMPLATE LETTER / EMAIL TO THE PRIME MINISTER
Send to https://email.number10.gov.uk
The Rt Hon David Cameron, MP
The Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
Ref: Caroline Nokes MP
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing to you regarding the conduct of one of your MPs, Caroline Nokes, who was involved in a violent incident, witnessed by children, at the home of the founder of Fathers4Justice, Matt O’Connor, last year.
You can read the full details here:
It is alleged that Ms Nokes claimed parliamentary expenses, to drive to London and collect a former Tory spin doctor, before driving him to Mr O’Connor’s home where a savage, violent attack took place – witnessed by his 8-year-old son.
It is alleged that Ms Nokes has repeatedly used her position as an MP to influence a Police investigation and the civil courts. Worst still, she has used the media to smear the victims in this case.
This incident and the role of a Conservative Member of Parliament in it, along with other people with strong links to the Conservative Party and other Conservative MPs, raises serious questions about some members of the party.
I understand repeated requests have been made to CCHQ, calling for an inquiry into this matter and that all have been refused.
As the father of young children yourself, and in light of the tragic death of Elliott Johnson, which has also raised serious questions about the conduct of certain sections of the party, I am asking you to consider a formal inquiry into this violent incident involving your MP, and the subsequent targeting of the O’Connor family and their children.
I am aware you have previously apologised to Fathers4Justice in April of this year regarding a separate matter, and hope you adopt a similarly responsible position here given the involvement of children.
Also complain to:
Lord Feldman, Chairman, The Conservative Party: firstname.lastname@example.org
Complain to your MP: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/
Kathryn Hudson, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards: email@example.com
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Chris Veck, Compliance Officer for IPSA firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Davis, Compliance Officer for IPSA email@example.com