The Liberal Democrat Group is pleased that after two years, Cllr Keith Aspden has been found to have not breached the council code of conduct for key allegations, following a long-awaited public hearing and extensive cross examination. The councillor will not face any sanctions.
After the investigative process, the Liberal Democrat Group will now be considering a formal complaint to be submitted to the council, in order to seek reassurances and ask questions about the level of council taxpayers money spent on the wasteful and slow process. We are pleased that the committee, in their summary, suggested that they will be looking to make recommendations on improving the process that Cllr Aspden endured and will also be looking at further training for officers and members.
Local media have reported on the meeting that heard that the allegations were made two years after the event by an employee who had admitted to committing an act of misconduct. For a summary of the hearing you could view:
Cllr Ann Reid MBE, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat group stated:
“We are delighted that, as expected, Councillor Aspden has been found to have not breached the code of conduct for a range of unfounded allegations. The Liberal Democrat Group have stood firm in our support for Cllr Aspden throughout this disgracefully wasteful and unnecessarily long process.”
“Liberal Democrat councillors, including Cllr Aspden as our Group Leader, have continued to act calmly in the best interests of the city and our local communities throughout this process.”
“However, we will now be considering a formal complaint to the council. It is abundantly clear that there are questions to answer following this process. The Council must ensure that no other elected councillor or individual is subjected to a badly handled, public, politicised and slow process, commissioned by the Council and paid for by council taxpayers.”
“We believe that residents will be shocked that their Council has so far spent over £70,000 of taxpayers money on external advisors on this process, which has not yet finished for Cllr Ayre, which appeared at times to be a desperate and seemingly endless attempt to discredit local councillors. We are very pleased that after nearly two years, this part is finally over.”
Cllr Keith Aspden added:
“I am very grateful and thank the many people who have supported me throughout this unpleasant experience; including friends, family, colleagues and residents.”
“I have never had to deal with such a stressful, prolonged and difficult process in my professional, council or personal life. I sincerely hope that lessons are learnt and that others are not subjected to an experience like this. Moving forward, I am more determined than ever to ensure that residents and communities, including my own ward of Fulford and Heslington, are heard by the Council.”