A tense night at the Town Hall

A LITTLE scoop from last night: the suspension of Mayor Faruque Ansari from the Lib Dem group has been picked up elsewhere. He was questioned by Department of Work and Pensions investigators about benefit fraud allegations that he completely denies.

From the awkward tension at the Town Hall on Monday night, a martian could have come down from outer space and realised something was up, as one by the one the Lib Dems left a meeting clearly still mentally digesting a group discussion on his suspension. Before anyone jumped to conclusions, it was Andrew Marshall, the leader of the Conservatives, who said what needed to be said, reminding everyone that Cllr Ansari is innocent until proven guilty. He hasn’t been charged with anything.

It is, however, an unprecedented situation, nobody really knows how to react and that uncertainty will go on until the investigation is sorted out one way or another. One point of confusion for example tonight is whether Cllr Ansari will stay on as Mayor. He has indicated he will step down to concentrate on clearing his name but there appeared to have been no official talks with the relevant people at the council.

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