Councillor refuses to back down over USA move

STANDING FIRM: Brian Riley ENGANL00120120530154443
STANDING FIRM: Brian Riley ENGANL00120120530154443
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A county councillor has insisted he will continue in his role despite an imminent move to America.

Brian Riley told reporters at a full council meeting yesterday (Thursday) that he would not be standing down, despite mounting public and political pressure.

Mr Riley, who represents Hadleigh, is moving to Raleigh in North Carolina and, despite pressure from council leader Mark Bee, has refused to relinquish his position.

A council spokesman said: “We are restricted in the action we can legally take against Brian Riley. This is in response to his ongoing desire to remain as a county councillor following his impending move to the US.

“Following the introduction of the Localism Act 2011, the council has no power to suspend Mr Riley, even if his actions were found to be a breach of the members’ code of conduct.”

Mr Riley has said he plans to fly back to the UK every six weeks for council and business interests, though he would only be required to attend one council meeting every six months to keep his £10,273-a-year allowance.

“There is also no legal power to withdraw or deduct his councillor allowance,” said the spokesman.

“If he wishes, Mr Riley is able to claim his allowance as long as he continues to attend a minimum of one council meeting every six months.

“Every county councillor must meet one of a number of residence criteria in the 12 months before they stand for office.

“However, there is no obligation for any councillor to continue to meet such criteria after the point they are elected.”

The spokesman said the council’s Conservative group leader, Mark Bee, had removed Mr Riley from all committees, adding that he would not be re-appointed or given any position of special responsibility.

Mr Riley is also no longer a member of the council’s Conservative group and was forced to sit in the independent’s seating area during yesterday’s meeting.

Despite a meeting between Mr Bee and Mr Riley, in which he was encouraged to stand down, it appears Hadleigh will be represented from the East coast state 4,000 miles away.