Councillor in 'Councillors for hire' scandal resigns

Former Councillor Graham BrownGraham Brown the East Devon Councillor implicated in the Daily Telegraph 'Councillors for hire' investigation has this evening resigned from his position as East Devon Member for Feniton And Buckerell Ward with immediate effect.

Former Councillor Brown had been suspended by the East Devon District Council Conservative Group on Monday, immediately following the revelations in the Daily Telegraph in which he was filmed apparently boasting of his ability to influence Planning Decisions as a Planning Consultant.

Earlier today the council referred Mr Brown's comments to the Police under the Bribery Act 2010 and it's own policy on Fraud, Theft and Anti-Corruption, saying that the comments warranted independent examination by the police, who may choose to investigate further.

Mr Brown's resignation means that there will be a by-election in the Ward, and the council will release more details on the process as soon at they are available.

Graham Brown's Resignation Statement reads:

"13th March 2013

Dear All,

It is with great regret that I have decided today to step down and resign my position as an East Devon Councillor due to the unbearable media pressure from the Daily Telegraph.

I wish to announce a full apology to my councillor colleagues across the whole political spectrum at East Devon and to the East Devon District Council officers for my disparaging remarks.

I would like to add that I stand by the fact that although I thoroughly misjudged the situation, I remain firm in the knowledge that I have not broken the law and will work to clear my name of any wrongdoing.

Kind regards,

Graham Brown"

 

Many fellow Members found his comments, subsequently televised on the ITV local news, and discussed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, totally unacceptable.

This is a sad week for Local Government, where the apparent conduct of a small minority has cast doubt on the integrity of many, and fuelled concern in members of the public about the planning process.

High quality Planning is fundamental to the future of Trinity, East Devon and the country beyond.

In my experience as a District Council Member since 2009, it is clear that the vast majority of Councillors, at all levels of Local Government and irrespective of personal political views, devote an enormous amount of time, effort and personal skill to supporting the lives of those we represent, without seeking or receiving, favour or financial gain, directly or indirectly.

For the record - Trinity residents and businesses can rest assured - Planning Applications will continue to be properly considered and determined here, whilst I represent us on East Devon District Council. I believe that is the case across East Devon. I have never had cause to question the integrity of the planning process itself, even if I don't always agree with the outcome!

Ian

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