East Riding councillor's deputy position is a 'clear conflict of interest'
COUNCIL leader Stephen Parnaby has called on Tory colleague Paul Robinson to resign after he was nominated for the post of deputy police and crime commissioner.
Councillor Robinson insists he will continue to represent the Howdenshire ward at East Riding Council despite being put forward for the £45,000-a-year role by new commissioner Matthew Grove.
While Cllr Grove intends to resign his council seat early in the new year, Cllr Robinson wants to carry on his role as a councillor, despite his appointment attracting accusations of "cronyism".
Now, Cllr Parnaby, Conservative leader of East Riding Council, has waded into the row engulfing his party. He said: "I believe there is a clear conflict of interest here.
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"I have no problems with the role of deputy commissioner.
"That position is in the gift of Matthew and he has to live with his decision to appoint a deputy.
"However, I do think Paul should make a clean break from the council if he is appointed as Matthew's deputy."
Cllr Parnaby said he did not think Cllr Robinson should continue to hold a seat on the council.
He said: "There is already a perception out there that this is all about political cronyism and that is going to stick.
"Personally, I don't think Paul should continue as a councillor and should resign.
"It's about having two roles that could create several conflicts of interest."
Cllr Parnaby admitted neither the ruling Conservative group at County Hall or the local party could force Cllr Robinson to quit.
"The decision really rests with him and Matthew," he said.
Cllr Robinson was the architect of Cllr Grove's recent election campaign after initially being talked about as a possible candidate for the commissioner's role.
The pair remain unpopular among certain sections of the council's Tory group having previously been part of a breakaway faction that challenged the current leadership two years ago.
Rifts in the Conservative ranks are unlikely to heal quickly following Cllr Parnaby's latest comments.
In a tweet, Conservative Councillor Mike Whitehead, who represents Willerby and Kirk Ella, said: "Really sad that the EYRC leader can't bring himself to congratulate Matthew Grove on election and takes first chance to attack. Old scores!"
Cllr Robinson has already stated he owes it to voters in the ward who elected him and plans to carry out council duties one day a week.
Cllr Robinson's proposed appointment is due to go before the new-look cross- Humber police and crime panel on Wednesday.