Council Leader's conduct to be investigated by 'Independent Investigating Officer'

Date published: 13 May 2018

The conduct of council leader, Councillor Allen Brett, is to be investigated by Simon Goacher, of Weightman’s Solicitors, as an Independent Investigating Officer, the Council's monitoring officer has confirmed.

In April, Rochdale Online revealed a recording of Labour leader Councillor Brett threatening to deprive Milnrow and Newhey of council money for road repairs if Labour did not retain the seat at the recent local election - it did not, the Lib Dem's Dave Bamford beat Labour's Neil Butterworth.

In the recording, Councillor Brett said he would deny he had made the threat, and when initially asked by Rochdale Online if he had made the threat, he lied saying: "No it is not true".

When asked if he wanted to change his position in light of the recording, Councillor Brett did not respond.

Outrage followed, including Conservative leader Councillor Ashley Dearnley saying Councillor Brett's comments were a "serious threat to democracy", and a number of complaints have been received by the Council.

In a reply to Lib Dem leader Councillor Andy Kelly, one of the complainants, the Council's monitoring officer said: "I have considered carefully what you have submitted and I have taken into account comments I have received from Cllr Brett. I have also consulted with one of the Council’s Independent Persons, Ann Taylor, as I am required to do under the Council’s procedures.

"In light of all of the above, I have decided there are sufficient grounds to investigate your allegations. 

"The investigation will be carried out by Simon Goacher of Weightman’s Solicitors as my Independent Investigating Officer. Mr Goacher will contact you if he requires any further information. 

"As I have received a number of complaints about the same matter, it may take a little while for him to complete his work and present his report for me to consider. I have asked him to provide me with an indicative timescale for this as soon as he can."

Despite the outcry, Labour councillors overwhelmingly voted for Councillor Brett to remain Labour leader - and hence council leader - following May's local election.


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