Council leader tells critics: Get over it since neither I nor any of my team will be resigning

COUNTY council leader Nick Clarke told critics of the flawed allowances scheme to “get over it” as he promised no one would resign or be fired because of it.

Cllr Clarke said: “Yes, cock ups do happen. But in truth no one has been hurt, no one has died. Yes there is a bit of embarrassment for the chief executive’s team- perfectly proper in the circumstances- but let’s now get on with the business in hand.”

He said he was “genuinely not bothered” that an immediate rise in allowances was no longer likely.

“As far as I am concerned we need to be looking at what we do to make sure we don’t fall into this trap again,” he said. “I am certainly not going to resign over it. We are not a hiring and firing organisation. My officers do a thankless task and they do it very well. Why would they offer to resign? Some bits were wrong but we’re not the only council to get it wrong.”

He praised the “armchair auditing” that spotted the mistake in the way the independent panel was convened.

“You could say you provided the third line of defence,” he said.

Cllr Clarke attacked the “moral high ground” of his Lib Dem opponents who he said sat back and said nothing during the county council debate on allowances.

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“I am certainly not taking lessons from those guys,” he added.

On his blog today, Cllr Clarke added: “Yes I am frustrated that this has happened but mistakes happen and we need to learn from them and move on. We will NOT have a blame culture. Above all the electorate needs to have confidence in the processes that are carried out by the council.

“However, we are still left with the vital but knotty problem of breaking down barriers to encourage councillors from all walks of life and allowances play a part in this.

“I will continue to look for ways to make sure we encourage those who may be on low wages or caring for a child or relative to stand for councillor.

“We cannot have true representation unless councillors come from all walks of life.”