Councillor ‘breached rules’

A recommendation has been made to censure a Daventry town councillor who breached aspects of the authority’s code of conduct.

Cllr Ruaraidh ‘Eric’ Macanndrais appeared at a standards hearing on Friday after complaints were made that he breached the code of conduct by failing to declare interests at meetings of Daventry Town Council during 2012.

Investigating officer Glenn Stanbury concluded that on June 25 Cllr Macanndrais did not breach the rules by failing to declare an interest in respect to a grant being considered, or in relation to proceedings relating to a judicial review involving him and the council.

However, Mr Stanbury held Cllr Macanndrais had breached the rules at meetings on July 9 and July 30, 2012 by failing to declare an interest.

He told the hearing Cllr Macanndrais had bought a company at the start of the year and failed to declare it within 28 days. Cllr Macanndrais said he had been informed by his solicitors he only needed to register the interest once the company became active, which he did.

The report also said Cllr Macanndrais had failed to declare interests relating to a judicial review he was pursuing against the town council, and had wished to read a statement at a meeting looking into what level of costs to pay him.

Mr Stanbury described the actions as a ‘determination’ to breach the code by influencing a meeting he could benefit from in terms of money.

Cllr Macanndrais said he was attempting to inform the rest of the council about information he believed was being with-held from them by the clerk.

He said: “Councillors had been told £250 was the likely cost. But I knew that it was going to be around the £12,000 to £25,000 mark. The situation was running away with itself.”

Mr Stanbury said: “It seems fantastic to me that this is something that could have been going on. From whatever reason it’s coming from, it’s information that would have had an impact on the meeting.”

However, he concluded that in those instances no breach occurred as Cllr Macanndrais left before discussions began, adding: “The clerk would have soon found out if that was going on when the true bill arrived.”

On finding that Cllr Macanndrais did breach the code for failing to declare the company he bought, it was recommended the town council pass a motion to censure him, that training be given on interests, and a reminder be given on the need to declare them in line with the rules.