Police rule out probe into Fenland councillor's expenses - but Simon King still faces conduct committee inquiry
PUBLISHED: 11:32 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:32 28 December 2017
Fenland District Council has been told that a Tory councillor and cabinet member facing claims of expenses irregularities will not be the subject of a police investigation.
The council’s monitoring officer told Councillor Simon King two days before Christmas that she had been informed by Cambs Police “that they will not be progressing their investigation in regards to your expenses at this time”.
However Ms Pilson also told the Wisbech councillor she would be “in touch in the New Year with regards to the paused conduct process”.
A much relieved Cllr King – in a retort to the Tory group’s chief whip Councillor Mike Cornwell – told him: “Dear Mike, it would seem my solicitor’s judgements are rather more reliable than those of Fenland’s!”
Colleagues of Cllr King are openly questioning why the ruling Conservative group allowed police to be involved in the first place.
Earlier a spokesman for Cambridgeshire Constabulary revealed they had “received material from Fenland District Council. The outcome of a review of this material will determine whether a criminal investigation will commence”.
Cllr King was suspended by the Conservative group following a closed meeting earlier this month after my exclusive revelation of raised eyebrows at Fenland Hall by officials examining his expenses claims.
Cllr Cornwell said the decision to suspend Cllr King was “in accordance with the rules and until the outcome of any investigations are known or six months whichever is the soonest”.
Cllr King re-paid £1,511.10 to Fenland Council on November 30 which he says is the “entire” amount of the alleged over payment; he admitted that some of his claims may have been for longer journeys than the shortest route but he argued that it wasn’t always possible to drive by the shortest route.
He said: “I am extremely sorry that this matter has escalated to the extent that it has become necessary for a formal complaint to be raised against me and the significant amount of officers’ time this matter has taken up so far.
“I accept that some of the claims may have been outside the officers’ interpretation of the terms of the members allowance scheme policy.”
But he did not accept “that mileage claims are properly limited to the shortest route in every case, for the following reasons - neither the policy or claim form state that the route must be the shortest route.
“It is notable that Fenland District Council has not made any request to me for repayment of any sums overpaid and has proceeded with the issue of a complaint,” he added.
He had repaid the amount of the alleged overpayment “to avoid any impression that I was benefitting improperly from FDC.
Both he and his solicitor were “astonished” police had been called in and he protested throughout he was “completely innocent and my solicitors and I are confident I will be cleared of any wrongdoing”.