It’s beginning to appear that Gavin Barwell couldn’t be trusted to organise a piss up in a brewery, not even one brewing Dutch lager, after an ex-employee passed the buck to the Tory MP over a potential security breach at the House of Commons.
Mario Creatura, the Croydon councillor who once said of his erstwhile MP employer “Gavin has no idea”, has again raised questions about Barwell’s competence, or lack of it, after it was discovered that his staff identity pass had not been returned to the proper authorities for more than six months after he’d quit his House of Commons job.
Creatura was employed as a parliamentrary assistant to Barwell, the MP for Croydon Central, from 2012 until last September, when he left to work as a public affairs manager for Heineken.
There is an entire chapter devoted to security, and the correct use of ID passes, in the handbook for MPs. This makes it clear that passes are only issued to staff, that they must be worn at all times while on the parliamentary estate, and that ID passes should be returned to the pass office immediately if someone no longer works at the Commons. In the case of Creatura’s pass, it was more than six months after the MP’s gofer joined Heineken that his pass was properly returned.
Creatura, who represents the safe Tory ward of Coulsdon West on Croydon Council despite living in Croydon town centre, claims that he handed in his Commons pass on his last day working for Barwell. He denies having or using the pass to access the House of Commons since September 2015.
That throws the responsibility for the potential security breach on to Barwell and his current Westminster staff, who include a former special constable.
Of Creatura’s pass, on March 28, Barwell told Inside Croydon, “He handed it in when he left my employment.” Except that House of Commons officials confirmed that the pass office had not received Creatura’s ID pass until a day later, March 29.
Was Barwell telling the truth? Was he trying to mislead over the mis-management of the security pass?
Barwell’s office inefficiencies extend to a failure to update their staff records on at least three occasions from October 2015 to March 2016, as the Commons register of MPs’ staff and their declarations of interest continued to list Creatura as an employee of the Croydon MP until the latest edition was published on March 25. Commons officials are clear that it is the MP’s responsibility to ensure that their staff records – including the nominated holders of security passes – are kept up to date.
A further enquiry to Barwell, offering him an opportunity to expand on or alter his account, has been ignored by the MP.
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