Councillor reacts to 'unsettling and surprising’ events at Northumberland County Council

Alnwick’s Conservative county councillor has said he finds a row which he says has left his party’s leadership in disarray ‘unsettling and surprising’.

By Ben O'Connell
Thursday, 13th August 2020, 7:00 pm
Cllr Gordon Castle
Cllr Gordon Castle

Cllr Gordon Castle – currently the Alnwick ward’s sole representative on the county council after Robbie Moore was elected MP for Keighley in December and then this year’s elections in May were suspended due to coronavirus – addressed August 13’s meeting of Alnwick Town Council with a prepared statement.

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He said: “The chief executive, Daljit Lally, is on extended leave and interim management arrangements are in place with Kelly Angus as interim acting chief executive and Cath McEvoy-Carr as acting deputy chief executive.

“This is obviously unsettling and surprising to many, including me; however, after discussions with colleagues I am assured that a full and totally independent investigation will follow soon.”

Cllr Castle said the investigation would cover reasons for the chief executive’s absence and determine if proper procedures were followed, “together with an evidence-based investigation” of claims made which are “strongly denied by the leader and other cabinet members”.

He added: “The deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services, Cllr Wayne Daley, and the cabinet member for adult wellbeing and health, Cllr Veronica Jones, have both resigned their positions on the cabinet (including the deputy leadership) having been unable to agree with the decision to suspend the chief executive.”

Cllr Castle said the situation at the council “should not be allowed to divert attention from the outstanding work carried out by members and officers, especially during lockdown, where the public had good reason to be satisfied with the county council. This excellent work will continue unabated”.

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