October 14, 2020 3.51 pm This story is over 14 months old

Council leader arrested over fraud offences

He has now stepped down

West Lindsey District Council leader Councillor Giles McNeill has stepped down after revelations he had been arrested in connection with fraud allegations and has since been released pending further investigation.

38-year-old Councillor McNeill was arrested by Lincolnshire Police on September 28, and released the same day.

Two weeks prior on September 13, he stepped back as West Lindsey District Council leader, having already been suspended by the Gainsborough Conservative Association.

He also left his role as communications manager for Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh.

Shortly after publication of this story, a West Lindsey District Council spokesman confirmed Councillor McNeill had resigned as leader of the authority taking effect from Monday, November 2.

Councillor McNeill will still remain a district councillor for the Nettleham Ward.

It is expected that a new leader will be appointed at the full council meeting on that date.

The mystery continues over the details of the fraud allegations and opposition members have accused the authority’s leadership of “secrecy damaging the reputation of the council”.

However, chief executive Ian Knowles batted off concerns over commercial properties bought under Councillor McNeill’s tenure.

He said the acquisitions followed “a stringent set of guidelines, including a 14-point scoring criteria”.

“The decision making at West Lindsey follows a robust process and does not allow for one person to make such significant decisions,” he said.

Deputy leader of Gainsborough Conservatives Sheila Bibb, said on Tuesday: “He’s still suspended and there’s an ongoing investigation by officers and one by police, and until those are completed we cannot really make any comments.”

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