Tag Archives: Ben Curran

Lib Dem defector cleared of data theft allegations

Paul Scriven and Ben Curran, pictured with a Walkley Resident in April.

Paul Scriven and Ben Curran, pictured with a Walkley Resident in April

The investigation into Cllr Ben Curran, who was accused of data theft after he defected from the Liberal Democrats to the Labour group, has been dropped by South Yorkshire Police.

Paul Scriven, Leader of Sheffield council accused Cllr Curran of taking public survey data from the Lib Dems, which had been collected during the general election campaign. He reported Cllr Curran to the police, and wrote to Labour group leader Cllr Julie Dore requesting he be suspended pending the investigation.

South Yorkshire Police today confirmed that the investigation had been dropped.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Bob Chapman said: “South Yorkshire Police has investigated a complaint made by the Liberal Democrats relating to Ben Curran.

“Following this investigation, no further action is to be taken. This outcome has been agreed with all those involved.”

A spokesperson for Sheffield Liberal Democrats said: “South Yorkshire Police have confirmed to us that Councillor Curran did obtain the files of personal data two days before he defected to the Labour Party, but that he did not pass it on and that it has now been returned.

“As he obtained the data while he was still a Liberal Democrat councillor, they have said he did not commit an offence and we will not take this matter any further.”

The Labour group did not suspend Cllr Curran, who remained silent on the matter until releasing a statement yesterday, in which he said: “The Police have confirmed that there is no case to answer. I hope that, as Councillors, we can all now focus on representing our constituents and doing what is best for Sheffield.”

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Police to investigate council defector Curran for “downloading personal data from Nick Clegg’s office”

UPDATE 29/9/10 – 5.30pm

Cllr Curran has released his first official statement since allegations of data theft were made last week.

He said “The Police have confirmed that there is no case to answer. I hope that, as Councillors, we can all now focus on representing our constituents and doing what is best for Sheffield.”

Ben Curran, the Sheffield City Councillor who defected from the Liberal Democrats to Labour on Friday, is under investigation by the police, it has emerged.

Council leader Paul Scriven has asked Labour leader Julie Dore to suspend Curran for allegedly downloading personal data about thousands of voters from Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s office days before his defection.

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Lib Dem councillor defects to Labour

Julie Dore welcomes Ben Curran to Sheffield's Labour Group

Walkley councillor Ben Curran has defected from the city’s Lib Dem group to the Labour group, branding his former party’s reasons for cancelling the Forgemasters loan “a pack of lies”.

This leaves the Liberal Democrats with only 41 councillors, meaning a combination of Labour’s 39 and Greens’ 2 councillors could vote down Lib Dem motions and amendments.

Cllr Curran, who had been an advisor to Lib Dem deputy leader Cllr David Baker, said it had not been an easy decision, but that he felt he had “no alternative but to leave the Liberal Democrats and join Labour.”

He said: “I was bitterly disappointed with where the party was going nationally with Nick Clegg and I was also left disillusioned with the lack of resistance shown by the Lib Dems locally with all the savage cuts that have hit this city.

“The disgraceful decision to cancel the Forgemasters loan is a case in point. As Sheffield Lib Dem Councillors, we were asked to defend what turned out to be a completely unjustifiable decision and it soon transpired that all the reasons in favour of cancelling the loan were just a pack of lies.

“My personal values haven’t changed but the political landscape has. It is clear to me that Labour offers the only genuine progressive future for both Sheffield and Britain today.”

Paul Scriven, leader of Sheffield council said: “Clearly this has come as a real surprise to us as Ben hasn’t spoken to me or anyone else in the Group to let us know he was thinking of resigning, let alone defecting. He was only elected in May and just a couple of weeks ago he gave a speech in the Council chamber deriding Labour’s record.

“Obviously this is a personal decision for Ben, but it’s clear that the move has been orchestrated given that it is on the eve of our national conference in Liverpool. I find it hard to understand how he could have joined a party that has pledged to take money away from the area he represents, took us into an illegal war in Iraq and has bankrupted the entire country.”

Sheffield Labour Group’s new leader Julie Dore welcomed the defection. She said: “The doors are wide open for any other Lib Dems who feel uneasy with the Tory-led Coalition and who are sick to death of these spiteful cuts, which are being made too far, too fast and hitting the most vulnerable hardest.”

Paul Blomfield, Labour MP for Sheffield Central, which includes the Walkley Ward, said: “I know what a difficult decision this has been for Ben. Like many Lib Dem supporters in Sheffield he was deeply distressed by the way that the party has changed under Nick Clegg’s leadership, especially since joining the Tories in Government. I welcome him to Labour and I’m looking forward to working with him in Walkley ward in my constituency.”