Councillors have admitted they can neither suspend nor remove a councillor who made “offensive, crude and extremely disrespectful” remarks about murdered MP Jo Cox.
Coun Dominic Peacock was found guilty this afternoon by standards committee councillors of bringing both East Riding Council and Beverley Town Council into disrepute by posting on Facebook that he had “just donated the steam of my p***” to the memorial fund of Ms Cox.
The councillor, who did not attend the meeting, has already received a police caution and been expelled for four years from the Conservative Party.
The council’s standards committee said today despite Coun Peacock’s actions breaching the council’s code of conduct, they were only able to recommend to both councils concerned that he is called on to resign.
Committee chair Coun Margaret Chadwick said they were “very disappointed” he had not resigned immediately after the incident “which would have been the most honourable thing to do.”
She added: “We are incredibly frustrated that we are unable to impose a sanction ourselves and can only make a recommendation to the two councils concerned.
“It is also important to clarify that there are limitations as to what the councils can ultimately enforce.
“To be clear, legally, neither we no the councils can suspend or remove Coun Peacock from office.”
Soon after making the offensive post, Coun Peacock posted on a local Vote Leave supporting page: “I’ve deleted my offensive comment, I shouldn’t have put it on in the first place - I won’t make excuses.”
Since then he has attended just one meeting in six months, but continues to claim allowances.
Beverley and Holderness Labour Party spokesman George McManus said: “It’s a bizarre situation that there is no mechanism for the removal of such an odious individual who doesn’t represent his constituents or their views and is still being paid from our taxes
“It’s scandalous that these people can break the rules, say and act as they wish, and yet there is no effective sanction in place.
“The powers have to be looked at. I think the public will be astonished to hear what East Riding Council have said, in as much as they have no power to force Coun Peacock to resign, but that’s the law, it’s not the council’s fault.
“The law in this area needs to be looked at as a matter of urgency.”