Newmark poised to be leader of Hertsmere council

Former JLC head was alleged to have deceived organisation out of tens of thousands of pounds


Jeremy Newmark, the leader of Hertsmere Labour Group, appears poised to become council leader after yesterday's local elections saw the Conservatives - who have run the council since 1999 - lose 13 seats.

Although they now still have the most seats, the council is hung, with Labour doubling their representation to 14 and the Lib Dems on 9 seats.

Coalition negotiations have already begun between the Labour and LibDem councillors.

Mr Newmark was formerly chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, before resigning due to ill health in 2013. He was also chair of the Jewish Labour Movement.

In 2018 the JC reported that an internal audit into Mr Newmark's conduct while he was chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council reported that he deceived the organisation out of tens of thousands of pounds and misled charities about the cost of projects he worked on.

The JC obtained a devastating report into the alleged actions of Mr Newmark — who narrowly failed to win the Finchley and Golders Green seat for Labour in 2017 — between 2006 and 2013.

At the time of the JC report, Mr Newmark denied that he had misused JLC funds or claimed inappropriate expenses. He also denied any wrongdoing surrounding the commissioning of his wife’s consultancy firm for a JLC project or the leasing of a £46,000 luxury car.

He also claimed that the JLC still used him as a consultant. He said: “I continue to be consulted by both the JLC itself and JLC members on a range of issues.” Responding to his claim, the JLC told the JC: “This is categorically not the case. The JLC does not contract or engage Mr Newmark.”

Mr Newmark resigned as chair of the JLM.

An independent report set up by the JLC in the wake of the JC's investigation found that the JLC and its trustees failed to exert “proper control” over his spending, leading to losses that could not be quantified because of a lack of proper records.

The inquiry report found that the charity incurred £111,734 of “potentially questionable expenditure”, including over £108,000 in the 15-month period from July 2012 until his departure.

Forensic investigators who assisted the inquiry also identified a further £266,189 in consultancy and other fees which could “merit further enquiry”, though in 2013 trustees said they were satisfied about these payments.

The JLC showed “little evidence of acceptable levels of financial control”, allowing Mr Newmark to spend funds “without approval” and to pay money into his personal bank account “without anyone requesting written support documentation”.

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