Hartlepool Conservatives call for boycott of council meetings until Gordon Cranney resigns after court sentence for assaulting woman

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Hartlepool council is facing a boycott unless a Conservative councillor re-elected just days after pleading guilty to assaulting a woman resigns.

Gordon Cranney, who won in the Seaton ward in Thursday’s Hartlepool Borough Council elections, had pleaded guilty to an assault by beating at Teesside Magistrates Court on April 28, after an incident on February 6.

He was given a community order for 24 months and told to attend a Building Better Relationships programme, as well as paying a victim surcharge of £95 and ordered to pay costs of £85.

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Cllr Gordon Cranney.Cllr Gordon Cranney.
Cllr Gordon Cranney.

The group posted a statement on Saturday night claiming Mr Cranney had resigned from the council and there would be a by-election.

However, Hartlepool Conservatives issued a further statement on Sunday voicing fears Mr Cranney’s resignation had not been officially submitted and he may continue as a councillor.

The borough’s Tory councillors say they will now refuse to attend meetings until Mr Cranney has gone – and are calling on all councillors from across the chamber to do the same.

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A statement posted on social media together with a letter from Hartlepool Conservatives leader Mike Young reads: “We formally call on every single councillor of Hartlepool Borough Council to refuse to attend any further meetings of council until Councillor Gordon Cranney has honoured his earlier statement of resignation."

Ray Martin-Wells, associate president of Hartlepool Conservatives, told the Mail Mr Cranney has not informed either the managing director or chief solicitor of Hartlepool Borough Council of his resignation.

“Conservative councillors expect him to honour his initial intention to resign,” said Mr Martin-Wells.

"Conservative councillors will refuse to take up their seats unless he goes through with his resignation."

Mr Cranney has so far been unavailable for comment.

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Hartlepool Borough Council has been approached for comment following claims of Mr Cranney’s resignation.

The returning officer for Hartlepool, responsible for overseeing electoral matters, said last week has that the offences to which Mr Cranney pleaded guilty did not prevent him from standing for election or acting as a councillor.

Denise McGuckin, the returning officer, said: “I can confirm that I informed the President of the Hartlepool Conservative Party as soon as I became aware of this matter.

“Hartlepool Borough Council has also made enquiries of the public records held by the court and I can confirm that the offences do not prevent the candidate from standing for election and acting as a councillor.

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“A person is disqualified if they have within five years before the day of election – or since their election – been convicted in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man of any offence and has had passed on them a sentence of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) for a period of not less than three months without the option of a fine.”