Councillor in Eurovision party photo says she knew nothing about Dewey arrest at the time

Cllr Sem Moema. Photograph: Hackney Council

A councillor photographed at a now notorious Eurovision party attended by disgraced former councillor Tom Dewey said she had no idea that he had been arrested the month before for possession of indecent images of children.

Sem Moema, ward councillor for Hackney Downs and North East London Assembly Member, was among the guests at the private party in May last year.

The borough’s mayor Philip Glanville has taken a leave of absence after being suspended by Labour when the photograph emerged of him also in attendance at the party – hours after he was told of Dewey’s arrest.

Glanville had previously said that he had “not seen or spoken to Mr Dewey” since becoming aware of the investigation.

Cllr Moema, who is also Hackney’s mayoral advisor for private rented homes and affordability, said she was unaware that Dewey had been arrested or about the investigation.

She said: “I was in attendance at the party. I found out Tom Dewey had resigned from the council after the party, on the following Monday (16 May 2022), at the same time as other colleagues.”

She added: “I only became aware of the arrest, and its nature, when it was reported in the media in June 2023.”

Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville (far right) and Tom Dewey (far left), pictured at a party on 14 May 2022

Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville (far right) and Tom Dewey (far left), pictured at a party on 14 May 2022

Other people in the photograph of the party have been approached for comment but are yet to respond.

The Eurovision gathering took place at the rented home that Glanville lived in as a house share with Dewey.

Earlier on that Saturday, the mayor had taken a sensitive phone call from Hackney Council’s then chief executive Mark Carroll.

Carroll, who was at his home, phoned Glanville to inform him that Dewey, a newly-elected De Beauvoir Labour councillor, had been arrested by the National Crime Agency (NCA) on 29 April 2022.

NCA detectives investigate serious and organised crime, “protecting the public by targeting and pursuing those criminals who pose the greatest risk to the UK”.

Carroll was alerted to the April 29 arrest after the NCA contacted the council’s safeguarding officer the morning of 13 May.

He asked for advice from the NCA immediately and spoke to them again on the Saturday and called the mayor.

Glanville said it was an “error of judgement” to be with Dewey that day, and that he decided not to cancel the event as he feared it would alert Dewey to what he knew.

The mayor said in a previous statement: “I was told of his arrest, but not the full extent of the charges, in a brief discussion with the council chief executive the same day.

“I shouldn’t have been at the event in which we were photographed but I did so as I feared to cancel the event, or not attend myself, may alert Tom to what I knew, during what I understood to be a live criminal case.”

Glanville moved out of the property the next day and is believed to have stayed with friends until Dewey had left.

Dewey was called into a meeting with Carroll on Monday 16 May 2022, and also spoke with Labour officials. He resigned that day as a councillor and also from the Labour party.

Last month, he was given a 12-month suspended sentence after admitting possessing 1,850 indecent images of children, including five described as “most serious”.

He was put on a 10-year sexual crime prevention order.

No Labour members, apart from Philip Glanville, have been suspended by the party.

Other people identified in the photograph have been approached for comment.