March 16, 2021 5.10 pm This story is over 15 months old

North East Lincolnshire Council opposition calls for leader to step down over ex-deputy’s dealings

Former sidekick stepped down after fraudster revelations

Opposition councillors at North East Lincolnshire Council are calling for the authority’s leader Councillor Philip Jackson to step down after revelations over business links between his former deputy leader and a convicted fraudster.

Conservative councillor John Fenty stepped down in December after his business relationship with Alex May, who was previously convicted and jailed for six years for his part in a multi-million pound scam.

He had started a company with Mr May, who had also expressed an interest in Grimsby Town Football Club and, according to documents, attended meeting with senior councillors and council staff.

At Thursday’s full council meeting a motion from Labour Councillors, who have called unsuccessfully for an independent investigation to be carried out, will now call for the leader’s removal.

Labour Opposition Leader, Councillor Matt Patrick, said: “Events last December shook the credibility of the council cabinet to the core and councillor Jackson has failed to take decisive action to try to repair the damage to the image of his administration.

“Council leaders can never afford to be seen to put the needs of their friends above that of the community they serve, and Councillor Jackson has done nothing to prove this, this is why he needs to stand down and let another member of his group take the reins of leadership to give the whole council the fresh start it needs.”

Alex May was convicted of fraud in 2007.

However, Councillor Jackson has hit back at the motion.

He said: “I totally refute the allegations being made by councillor Patrick and his Labour colleagues.

“This is clearly political posturing on the run up to the local council elections on 6 May.

“I will have more to say in response at the Full Council meeting on Thursday evening.”

Humberston and New Waltham councillor Stan Shreeve was appointed as the new deputy leader of the council following Councillor Fenty stepping down.

Mr May led a gang of con artists targetting elderly houseowners in 2007 in Manchester. He stole £3.5 million and tried to steal another £3.3 million.

Following his sentence he changed his name by deed poll from Alick Kapikanya.

Councillor Fenty said the company the pair had created had never started trading and that they were no longer business partners.