Hartlepool’s new Mayor will be chosen this week

Ceremonial Mayor Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher inspecting soldiers of 3rd Battalion The Rifles during a parade in March.
Ceremonial Mayor Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher inspecting soldiers of 3rd Battalion The Rifles during a parade in March.

Councillors will elect a new Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool for the next year at a meeting this week.

The annual Hartlepool Borough Council meeting takes place at 7pm on Thursday and will see the selection a new figurehead for the coming 12 months.

The ceremonial role has been held since May 2013 by Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher who replaced elected mayor Stuart Drummond when Hartlepool voted to scrap the post in a referendum.

Coun Akers-Belcher has faced numerous calls for him to stand down as mayor over his links to scandal-hit charity Manor Residents Association, which he was on the board of before stepping down, and over his sacking from his care manager job at Newcastle City Council.

Newcastle council said he was dismissed for gross misconduct after being given paid leave to attend a funeral but later learned he had attended an event in his civic function for Hartlepool council.

Coun Akers-Belcher maintains he was sacked for whistle-blowing after raising concerns about the care of vulnerable adults, something the council has strongly denied.

Another motion calling for Coun Akers-Belcher to resign at an extraordinary meeting last Monday was withdrawn.

Over the last three years, Coun Akers-Belcher has helped raise over £100,000 for charities including Miles for Men, The Great North Air Ambulance, Hartlepool & District Hospice and RNLI.

Thursday’s meeting will also see the election of a new Deputy Ceremonial Mayor, currently held by Coun Mary Fleet.