Labour calls for leader resignation

A LABOUR councillor will tonight call for resignation of Tory council leader Barry Coleman and finance cabinet member Tony Smith over what he calls a “jaw-dropping” verdict on the council's finances.

A LABOUR councillor will tonight call for resignation of Tory council leader Barry Coleman and finance cabinet member Tony Smith over what he calls a “jaw-dropping” verdict on the council's finances.

At tonight's meeting of the full council Brian Walker, Labour's spokesman for resources, plans to grill two leading Tories over the minutes of the Audit and Risk Committee.

It follows the council's handling of its financial reporting procedures in the 2006-07 financial year after the council failed to prepare a Statement of Accounts by the due date of June 30. And auditors said insufficient evidence has been provided to account for a number of balances in the statements, although amendments had been made to the accounts after their late submission.

Dick Barker, Labour vice-chairman of the Council's Audit and Risk Committee said: “The Audit Commission Report represents a staggering indictment of the ruling Conservatives' poor financial management over recent years and confirms the correctness of the Labour Group's judgement in these matters. It was the Labour opposition who successfully put in place the Audit and Risk Committee charged with ensuring financial probity.”


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Cllr Walker: “Barry Coleman should take responsibility for the deplorable conduct of the council's financial affairs 'during his watch' and resign forthwith from his position as leader of the council. It goes without saying that Tony Smith too as the cabinet member overseeing this whole sorry business should go now without further delay - he certainly no longer commands the respect of his fellow councillors.”

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