A CORNWALL councillor who claimed to have been appointed a Member of the British Empire was never awarded the honour and claims to have been the victim of an “elaborate and malicious hoax”.
Terry Wilkins, Conservative councillor for Illogan, appears on Cornwall Council’s register and in all correspondence as Terry Wilkins, MBE.
But after an investigation by the West Briton, the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, which oversees the honours system, said it had no record of Mr Wilkins holding an honour.
The councillor initially refused to comment on the allegations but as the newspaper went to press, he emailed with an explanation.
He said that while working in the Metropolitan Police 19 years ago, he was told he had been awarded an MBE, but never attended the ceremony and put the medal that he’d received away in a drawer.
It was only after being contacted by the West Briton that he said he looked into the issue and discovered he had been deceived by an “aggrieved ex-colleague”.
Mr Wilkins was elected to Cornwall Council in 2009. He has been a member of the children and adolescent mental health select committee, the health and social care scrutiny committee and the west sub area planning committee.
His council profile page reads Terry Wilkins, MBE.
Rachel Wells, from the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, which oversees the honours system, said: “Despite a search we can find no trace of any living person with the name Terence (or Terry, Terrence or Terrance) E Wilkins having received an MBE or any other British honour for which we hold records.
“Our records cover appointments to the Orders of the Garter, the Order of the Bath, the Order of St Michael and St George, the Royal Victorian Order and the Order of the British Empire.”
Cornwall Conservative Party says it is conducting an investigation.
Fellow Illogan Parish Council member Stephen Richardson has led calls for Mr Wilkins, who was elected in 2009, to step down from his position.
He said: “Mr Wilkins should seriously consider his position. I am considering reporting both himself and the Conservative Party to the appropriate authority, as I believe this to be electoral fraud.”
The councillor has also told constituents he had an Open University degree in social science, but the institution says it has no record of anyone by that name enrolling on a course.
His LinkedIn profile page says he has a 2:1 (pending) in Health and Wellness.
Mr Wilkins again refused to comment the matter.
An Open University spokesman said: “Due to rare mistakes from our computer records we cannot 100 per cent confirm that Terry Wilkins has never been awarded a degree at the Open University.
“However, our records do indicate that nobody with his name has ever enrolled on a course at the university.”
A Cornwall Conservative Party spokesman said: “We are currently conducting an internal investigation into this matter.”