Motion calling for Hartlepool mayor to resign scrapped in ‘olive branch’ plea for unity

Stephen Akers-Belcher the Mayor of Hartlepool.
Stephen Akers-Belcher the Mayor of Hartlepool.

A motion calling for the Mayor of Hartlepool to resign following revelations around his sacking for gross misconduct was dramatically withdrawn last night.

Independent Councillor Jonathan Brash, who had brought the motion, instead offered an ‘olive branch’ to work with Labour councillors he has previously clashed with for the good of the town.

Coun Brash addressing the council chamber during the extraordinary meeting

Coun Brash addressing the council chamber during the extraordinary meeting

He said it was more important all 33 members of the council worked together on the big issues facing the town against anticipated attacks by the new majority Conservative government.

At an extraordinary meeting last night, Coun Brash, who refers to himself as Independent Labour, also cited Labour’s success in the local elections which saw their numbers on the council increase from 19 to 22.

He said: “Let’s change the way we do politics in Hartlepool. I will withdraw the motion before us tonight and pledge to work with any and all members who want to sign up to a new vision of a co-operative and progressive council.

“Instead of fighting each other we can work together.”

Let’s change the way we do politics in Hartlepool

Councillor Jonathan Brash

Coun Brash spoke of the need to help young people find work, training or education, attract investment and give more power to communities.

He proposed expanding the remit of the new group set up to bring health services back to Hartlepool to deal with such issues.

But that was rejected by council leader, and also leader of the Labour group on the council, Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher.

He said the council’s constitution already covered Coun Brash’s proposal.

Instead it was agreed to explore using the existing Council Working Group, to debate major issues.

The original motion called for Stephen Akers-Belcher, who was not at last night’s meeting, to resign as a councillor after it was revealed he was sacked by Newcastle City Council as he was given paid leave to attend a funeral but attended a function in his civic role.