Labour party launch investigation into mayor of Hartlepool after day-job sacking

The MP for Hartlepool Iain Wright (left) with The Mayor of Hartlepool Stephen Akers-Belcher.
The MP for Hartlepool Iain Wright (left) with The Mayor of Hartlepool Stephen Akers-Belcher.

HARTLEPOOL Mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher will be investigated by Labour party chiefs after revelations around his day-job sacking.

Coun Akers-Belcher requested the party carries out a probe himself, while Iain Wright Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for the coming general election also called for a party probe.

I have asked the Labour Group to ensure that a swift investigation, in accordance with Labour Party rules, is carried out

Iain Wright MP

There have been calls from fellow Hartlepool borough councillors and members of the public for Councillor Akers-Belcher to resign.

It is after the Mail reported that he was sacked from his job at Newcastle City Council after it said he was given paid leave to attend a funeral, but attended an event in his civic role for Hartlepool Borough Council 323 miles away in Portsmouth.

Further questions around Coun Akers-Belcher also arose after he told the Mail he was not well enough to attend a tribunal court date when his claim against the Newcastle authority for unfair dismissal was struck out.

It later emerged he had attended a meeting of Hartlepool council on the same day on March 9.

Chairman of the Hartlepool Labour Group Coun Carl Richardson said: “Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher has requested that the chief whip of the Labour Group request a full investigation and that’s what’s going to be done.”

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright also urged the party to carry out an investigation.

Mr Wright commented on the situation following calls by independent councillor Paul Thompson and Couns Jonathan Brash and Pamela Hargreaves, who refer to themselves as Independent Labour.

Mr Wright said: “I would expect all elected representatives, especially Labour Party representatives, to honour and uphold the highest levels of honesty, integrity and professionalism.

“I would also expect all Labour Party representatives to ensure that their behaviour does not bring the party into disrepute.

“These standards should be maintained without exception.

“As Jonathan Brash and Pamela Hargreaves were both subject to disciplinary proceedings and investigations during their time as Labour councillors, they know full well how matters are dealt with.

“As with their own matter, any current issue would be subject to an internal disciplinary process of the Labour Group of councillors.

“This should be undertaken as quickly as possible.

“I have asked the Labour Group to ensure that a swift investigation, in accordance with Labour Party rules, is carried out.”

Coun Akers-Belcher claims he was sacked from his post of team leader within Newcastle City Council’s Community Mental Health Service for whistle blowing after he made a series of allegations involving the protection of vulnerable adults.

But the authority denied that was the case and said the allegations were investigated by the council and police, but no further action was taken.

Coun Thompson said: “The recent press statement from Newcastle City Council is pretty damning for Coun Akers-Belcher who has always insisted that he was the victim.”