October 27, 2021 9.34 am

Former West Lindsey leader resigns as councillor a month after admitting fraud offences

Councillor McNeill stepped down as leader in September 2020

Former West Lindsey District Council Leader Giles McNeill has stepped down from the authority a month after admitting fraud offences, it has been confirmed.

Mr McNeill, who was kicked out of the Conservative Party, pleaded guilty to a number of offences totalling £31,000 at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court at the end of September and is due to appear before Lincoln Crown Court for sentencing.

His appearance before a judge, due to be Thursday, October 28, has been delayed until November 25.

A statement from Chief Executive of West Lindsey District Council Ian Knowles said: “I have received the resignation of Councillor Giles McNeill and as such the council will now carry a vacancy.

“A Notice of Vacancy will be available on the website from today (Wednesday, 27  October).”

Residents had questioned why Councillor McNeill held on to his position as an Independent member for Nettleham after admitting eight theft, fraud and forgery charges totalling £31,201.04 from his own party, over a period of six years.

However, a councillor cannot be disqualified until sentence has been passed for a period of not less than three months without the option of a fine.

McNeill was leader of the council from May 2019 until announcing in September 2020 he was stepping back from the role for “personal reasons”.

He was also organising secretary and communications manager for Gainsborough Conservative Association and was employed in a similar role by the constituency MP Sir Edward Leigh. He stepped down from both positions last year.

McNeill became the council’s youngest member when he was first elected to represent the Nettleham ward at a by-election in September 2012, at the age of 30. After stepping down as leader he left the Conservative Group but continued to sit as an Independent councillor.

Sheila Bibb, Deputy Chairman Political for the Gainsborough Conservative Association said: “As a party we are pleased to learn that Giles McNeill has now resigned from West Lindsey District Council.”

Councillor McNeill has been contacted for comment.

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