COLUMN: THAT UKIP blue badge parking fine story - and why we will always hold politicians to account

COURT CHRIS ADAMS                                    MRW                                 18/4/2017

// NO BY-LINE//

Cllr. Chris Adams tried to disguise himself when he entered Portsmouth Magistrates Court and was then assisted by his Solicitor to shield himself with an umbrella emblazoned with 'Buckinghamshire Law Plus' as he was allowed to get into a car at the foot of The Magistrates Court steps when he left 

Picture:(170418-6001) PPP-170418-201506006
COURT CHRIS ADAMS MRW 18/4/2017 // NO BY-LINE// Cllr. Chris Adams tried to disguise himself when he entered Portsmouth Magistrates Court and was then assisted by his Solicitor to shield himself with an umbrella emblazoned with 'Buckinghamshire Law Plus' as he was allowed to get into a car at the foot of The Magistrates Court steps when he left Picture:(170418-6001) PPP-170418-201506006
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A very curious story came to the attention of the Bucks Herald this week which set social media ablaze - yes, it’s that UKIP Chris Adams blue badge parking fine one.

So here’s what happened ...

Content Editor Hayley O'Keeffe

Content Editor Hayley O'Keeffe

An experienced court reporter from our sister paper the Portsmouth News got in touch to say she had a story that we may be interested in, they had just published it online.

Chris Adams, our local councillor for none other than the birthplace of the Paralympics, had been hauled before the courts down there accused of wrongly using a friend’s blue disability badge to park his car. He had pleaded guilty to the crime and been fined nearly a grand.

Just to clarify, this would have been a story for The Bucks Herald were it any of our local councillors, no matter what their political persuasion, and we treated Mr Adams the same way that we would any public figure who had shown disregard for the values that I’m sure their electorate expects. As journalists it’s our job and this was nothing personal where Mr Adams is concerned.

Clearly Mr Adams was not happy about the story being published...and he made his frustrations very obvious, from family members calling us up to complain and to issuing us with legal threats over the use of the word “fraudulently”. Incidentally, if you look it up in the dictionary

“fraudulently” perfectly describes what he pleaded guilty to.

The story also made it to the very enjoyable Facebook group, The Aylesbury Grapevine, where there was much debate...and criticism of Mr Adams. The group was approached by persons we know not whom to state that the post should be taken down. The request was refused.

My advice to any public figure caught out in this way is this – we all make mistakes, so – the best thing to do is hold up your hands, issue a public apology and engage with the process.

When you take on public office, ask for people’s support at the polling stations and even tout for the role of this area’s MP as Mr Adams’ did in 2015 – you have to make sure that you are prepared to accept the criticism as well as the praise.