Keighley mayor rejects resignation calls

Kris Hopkins MP

Kris Hopkins MP

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THE Mayor of Keighley has rejected calls for councillors to quit in the wake of a damning report into his town council’s governance.

Councillor Graham Mitchell said he did not need to take notice of an online petition because he was answerable to the electorate.

Started by civic campaigner Elizabeth Mitchell - no relation - the petition has attracted almost 100 names.

It calls on members of the management and staffing committee from June 2012 to March 2013 to resign in the wake of an independent audit report which revealed serious problems at the council relating to decision-making and spending.

Among those who have signed is town councillor Ron Beale who said he had been raising concerns about council spending for some time.

Councillor Beale is also calling for a full audit report, which is marked confidential, to be made public.

Councillor Mitchell said a number of petitioners did not live in Keighley and hit out at people who had posted “grossly inaccurate” comments about him on social networking sites.

He said the 2012-13 accounts had been signed off by accountants as “lawful.”

Councillor Mitchell said suggestions in the audit report that the town council may have acted unlawfully were the opinions of accountants and not lawyers.

He said the town council had taken its own legal advice and that only a court could decide which side was correct.

“The auditors say they do not intend to pursue it in the courts.”

Councillor Mitchell said those who had signed the petition “don’t understand the system” of elections.

“The ultimate punishment is the ballot box...my ward has re-elected me four times. If these people think I am a rotten apple, I will stand down. I have not had a petition from my own electors.”

Keighley MP Kris Hopkins has called for “those responsible” at the council to “immediately consider their positions”.

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