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Town council accused of ‘witch hunt’
9:04am Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
A pair of Keighley town councillors could lose their positions on two council committees for ‘leaking’ documents about the new civic centre finances to the Keighley News.
At its meeting tonight, the full council has been asked to vote on recommendations to remove Councillor Brian Hudson from the planning committee and Coun Geraldine Stack from the finance committee.
The councillors say they understand it is because they were involved in making public a set of council financial documents marked ‘confidential’. These documents related to the finances of the new civic centre, in North Street, and their contents were publicised in the Keighley News in July.
Coun Stack described the recommendations as a “witch hunt”, while Coun Hudson said the town council had become a “dictatorship”.
However, Coun John Philip, who has put forward the removal of Coun Stack from finance, said the committee had been left with no other choice after confidential material was left insecure and then passed to the local press.
The proposals feature in the agenda for tonight’s full town council meeting in Keighley Town Hall. The first of these has been brought forward by planning committee chairman Coun Peter Corkindale and seconded by Coun Michael Westerman. The second recommends Coun Stack be taken off the finance committee and cites the same standing order. The proposer, Coun Philip, has been seconded by Coun Gary Pedley.
Coun Philip said: “Confidential information from finance was left insecure or given to another councillor. It then found its way to a member of the public and then the press.”
Responding this week, Coun Stack said: “They’re just being petty. They were obviously going to remove me from finance. They work in secrecy and now they’re getting what they want.”
Coun Hudson said: “There’s no freedom of speech anymore, there’s no debate. This is what this council has come to.”
The Keighley News put in a request for a comment to town clerk Miggy Bailey on Tuesday, but as we went to press no statement had been issued.
Keighley News editor Malcolm Hoddy said: “Should this action go ahead then it will be an extremely sad day in the history of Keighley for democracy, freedom and the precept-payers.”