Motion of no confidence as mayor offers to resign following allegations

Swindon Advertiser: Swindon Mayor Nick Martin Swindon Mayor Nick Martin

MAYOR of Swindon, Nick Martin, has offered his resignation to the leader of the council in light of recent allegations around his behaviour.

But after the offer was rejected by a Labour councillor, a motion of no confidence will now be brought against him in a special meeting later this month.

In October, the mayor was accused of misconduct during a presentation by a council officer into issues faced with adults with disabilities.

He is alleged to have said: “They aren’t still letting those mongols have sex with each other are they?”.

While the mayor has denied the claim, he came under further pressure when he refused a fellow councillor entry to his parlour during an official visit.

Central ward Labour councillor Junab Ali was part of a designation with the South West Bangladeshi Catering Group, but Coun Martin asked him to wait outside as he suspected Coun Ali of reporting him to the standards committee.

And now it is understood leader of the council David Renard had accepted the resignation of the troubled mayor in exchange for the allegations being dropped from investigation by the standards committee.

Coun Martin had offered to stand down on Christmas Eve, but Coun John Ballman (Lab, Gorsehill and Pinehurst), refused to drop his complaint.

A special council meeting will now be held on December 19 for Labour to bring the motion of no confidence to the full council.

Leader of the Labour group, Coun Jim Grant, said: “The Labour Group believe the mayor’s position is untenable. One allegation is now being investigated by the standards committee and is particularly concerning because one of the mayor’s sponsored charities this year is a charity that supports children with learning disabilities.

“The mayor had made an offer that he would stand down on Christmas Eve if two councillors dropped their complaints against him. However this offer was turned down and the mayor is unprepared to stand down without conditions attached, so at this moment we will be going to the meeting.

“I would urge the mayor to stand down voluntarily and avoid any further damage being inflicted on the office of the mayor.”

Coun David Renard said the arrangement was made in a private meeting.

“He was willing to consider his resignation, but the Labour group have preferred to go to full council,” he said. “They are keen for him to stand down for reasons set out in their motion.

“They would have preferred if he had stood down voluntarily, but the individual parties concerned have not been able to achieve that.

“I think the motion is premature. They have made it clear that they feel the mayor is guilty of some wrong doing, but we have a standards board which is taking its course. Until they come to their conclusions he is innocent until proven guilty.

“It the motion is passed he would be obliged to stand down, but only in his capacity as mayor.

“Nobody has the power to remove a sitting councillor unless through the ballot box.”

This is not the first time a no confidence vote has been held in the Civic Offices. In September 2011 then leader and deputy of the council, Rod Bluh and Garry Perkins, survived a vote after failing in their project to bring free wifi to Swindon.

The motion had been due to be brought at last month’s full council meeting, but Coun Martin did not attend as he had a dentist appointment.

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