Rutland MP Alan Duncan has called for three councillors at the centre of a legal dispute with the county council to stand down.
Mr Duncan made the call following a special meeting of Rutland County Council where councillors voted in favour of seeking an injunction to prevent the three members of the Rutland Anti-Corruption Group harassing its chief executive and other employees.
The political group is made up of Coun Richard Gale, Coun Dave Richardson and Coun Nick Wainwright.
The council commissioned an investigation by a public services law firm to look at “reckless and serious allegations” made by the three councillors.
At the meeting which took place on Thursday last week, councillors also voted to grant an indemnity to, and support the chief executive and other officers, to take legal action in their own name for harassment by the group and resolve that all communications by the group to the council be subject to a single point of contact through the council’s internal e-mail system.
The council also agreed to authorise sufficient funds for these purposes.
Mr Duncan said: “These three councillors are a disgrace to themselves and an even deeper disgrace to Rutland.
“They are doing nothing useful to serve their council areas and have been condemned by high quality legal opinion.
“If they had any decency they would stand down as councillors and allow better people to take their place.”
He added: “The chief executive and other officers have my unequivocal support and confidence.”
In response to Mr Duncan’s call, the leader of the group Coun Gale said: “We find it extraordinary that our MP has not contacted three elected councillors to discuss this.”
Coun Richardson disputed that there was evidence to support the council’s claim.
He said: “If asking questions, as is our statutory right, is now deemed to be wrong because we are not asking the questions they want to hear then we have lost the whole of democracy.
“It goes right to the heart of democracy that the controlling majority group can make an unsubstantiated case against a minority group.
“The first thing we would have expected him (Mr Duncan) to do is to contact us and to see what our case is, and what our concerns are. Does he understand what our concerns are?”
Coun Richardson complained that Mr Duncan does not usually get involved in council issues.
The group said it was considering taking legal action against the 23 councillors who voted in favour of the motion.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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