Essex County Council yesterday rejected a call for a full inquiry to establish how ex-leader Lord Hanningfield was able to spend £287,000 over five years without any checking. The opposition Liberal Democrat Group tabled a motion which was voted down by the Conservative majority. In a further astounding twist, the sole Labour councillor voted with the Conservatives.
Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Mike Mackrory, Leader of the Opposition, sa
“We still need to know why £287,000 of public money was allowed to be paid out over five years for 24 trips abroad, stays at luxury hotels and meals and drinks at the most expensive restaurants. Who signed these expenses off and why? Why did the Conservatives let him get away with it for so long?
“Why did the Chief Executive take no action after my letter of concern to her in November 2007? Why was no action taken after the criticisms by the Auditors in 2008?
“We will continue to press for answers to these questions.”