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Bid to oust Stafford Council leader comes to nothing

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: April 11, 2014

Bid to oust Stafford Council leader comes to nothing

Mike Heenan who has survived a council vote.

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A BID to oust Stafford’s Conservative council leader Mike Heenan fizzled out as three of the five people behind it failed to vote.

The motion to remove Mr Heenan from office was brought by Councillors Robert Stephens, Rowan Draper, Jill Hood, Frank James and Ravi Bhakhri.

Councillor Bhakhri didn’t attend a meeting to discuss it and Councillors Draper and James didn’t vote, leaving Councillors Stephens and Hood facing a tidal wave of opposition from the Conservative party.

Members were warned before the debate started that they might prejudice legal proceedings following the Newsletter’s revelation that police are investigating the matter after they received a complaint.

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The council’s standards committee are also investigating it.

Proposing the motion independent Councillor Robert Stephens said: “The leader of the council admitted to the media he had mae a mistake on his statutory declaration of interests. It’s a criminal offence without reason or excuse. He failed to tell the monitoring officer about his pecuniary interests.

“In order to protect the reputation of the council and in order that this council is seen to be taking the matter very seriously I would ask you to remove the leader of the council from office.Tory Councillor Patrick Farrington said: “We don’t have anyfor the council information yet. We have no facts – nothing other than motions put forward which is quite frankly baseless at the moment.”

Councillor Frank Finlay (Con) said members sometimes disagreed but never questioned the honesty or integrity of colleagues.

“This is a very sad day for the council. This council would be a big loser if we lost that culture.”

Councillor Hood said: “Councillor Heenan apologised. That tells us what he did was wrong.”

Councillor Philip Jones (Con) said: “We have heard a litany of innuendo. It tells us all we need to know about those who have signed (the motion).”

The motion was voted down by 32 votes to two.

After the meeting Councillor Draper said he had decided not to vote after hearing that day that the police and standards committee were involved.

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