Tuesday, July 03, 2012

David Parsons resigns as leader of Leicestershire County Council

David Parson's long drawn out and very public attempt to retain the leadership of the ruling Conservative group on Leicestershire County Council failed today. Reading between the lines, he resigned when it became clear that he would not win a vote of confidence within his own group.

The BBC report reminds us of the concerns that led to today's events:
Last month the council's standards committee censured Mr Parsons over an independent report which found he had delayed repaying money to a body called East Midlands Councils (EMC). 
It had initially paid for official trips to the continent, but the EU then paid Mr Parsons directly. 
Mr Parsons apologised but initially refused to step down as leader, a post he had held for nine years. 
Last week the county council referred the issue to Leicestershire Police. 
In addition to this, a body called the Corporate Governance Committee is to consider further allegations that Mr Parsons used the council's chauffeur-driven car to attend private functions.
The really surprising thing is that it has taken so long for Parsons and the Conservatives to recognise that his position had become untenable. The county's Liberal Democrats have been on his case since 2009.

I have suggested in the past that the reason for this may be that the Tory group is desperately short of alternative candidates. But I have a helpful suggestion for them.

One of Parsons' less dignified attempts to get himself out of hot water was telling the council's standards committee that s wife Liz was "totally" in control of his financial affairs. Not so impressive coming from the mouth of a man responsible for an annual budget of £400m.

Still, if they have no one else suitable, why not ask Mrs Parsons to take over for the time being?

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