Hartlepool mayor faces vote of no confidence after being sacked from day job for gross misconduct

VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE ... Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, the Mayor of Hartlepool.
VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE ... Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, the Mayor of Hartlepool.
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COUNCILLORS are set to consider calls for Hartlepool’s mayor to stand down over his sacking from his day job.

Five councillors called for a meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council after the Mail revealed Coun Akers-Belcher was dismissed for gross misconduct by Newcastle City Council after he was given paid leave to attend a funeral but attended a function in Portsmouth in his civic role.

All of this leads to the, widely held, view that he is simply not fit for office, in any form. To that end the council has a duty to take action, even if the only thing we are legally able to do is record a vote of no confidence.

Councillors’ motion

He told the Mail he did not attend a tribunal hearing in his claim for unfair dismissal because he was unwell, but it later emerged he took part in a meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council on the same day on March 9.

Coun Akers-Belcher, who is a Labour councillor for Hartlepool’s Manor House ward, maintains he has been the victim of whistle blowing because he raised serious concerns over the protection of vulnerable adults by the Newcastle authority where he was a team leader in the Community Mental Health Service.

Newcastle City Council has denied that and said Coun Akers-Belcher’s claims were fully investigated, but no action was taken.

A motion for an extraordinary council meeting was called and signed before the election by Councillors Paul Thompson, Jonathon Brash, Keith Dawkins, Geoff Lilley and Steve Gibbon and says there should be a “formal vote of no confidence” in the mayor.

The motion reads: “The latest revelations in the local, regional and national media allege very clearly that Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher has lied publicly on numerous occasions.

“He has misled the press, fellow councillors and most damning of all the people of Hartlepool. Moreover he has lied about a partner North-East Council, forcing them to publicly defend themselves against these lies.

“All of this leads to the, widely held, view that he is simply not fit for office, in any form. To that end the council has a duty to take action, even if the only thing we are legally able to do is record a vote of no confidence.

“We therefore formally move a formal vote of no confidence in Coun Stephen Akers Belcher as councillor of this borough and call on him to tender his resignation as a councillor immediately.”

The meeting will be held at Hartlepool Civic Centre at 7pm on Monday, May 18.