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"Benefit-Cheat Tory Councillor should resign" - Lib Dems

July 1, 2013 6:22 PM

Following the news that Hinckley and Bosworth Conservative Councillor Chris Boothby has pleaded guilty last week to charges of benefit fraud. Lib Dem Council Leader Stuart Bray said, "Only last October Cllr Boothby was protesting his innocence and vowed to clear his name, now after months of protestations he has pleaded guilty. His credibility is shot and he should now do the honourable thing and resign his Ratby, Bagworth and Thornton seat so a new councillor can be elected.

"The Borough Council has a zero tolerance policy on those who cheat the benefit system and it's disappointing that it took months for Cllr Boothby to do the honourable thing and own up. In my view he has brought his office into disrepute this is why I have today also reported him under the local standards procedure."

Many people have expressed disbelief that Cllr Boothby can, if he chooses, remain a councillor following his criminal conviction.

As Councillor Boothby did not receive a custodial sentence he can legally remain a councillor. He will, following Cllr Bray's referral, face an investigation by council officers to see if he broke the code of conduct, though the local standards procedure only has the powers to censure a councillor.

Cllr Bray also called on Conservative Group Leader Peter Batty to expel Boothby from the Conservative Group. He added, "So far the Conservatives have dithered. I realise that Boothby was a close ally of Cllr Batty but he has damaged the reputation of the Conservative Party and the Council and it's time for Peter Batty to show some leadership and move swiftly to expel him."