No police action over alleged expense ‘irregularities’ of Fenland Councillor Simon King

Councillor Simon King is delighted police have ruled out further investigation into alleged expense irregularities but is waiting to hear if he faces action by Fenland's conduct committee.
Councillor Simon King is delighted police have ruled out further investigation into alleged expense irregularities but is waiting to hear if he faces action by Fenland's conduct committee.

Fenland Councillor Simon King said he never doubted he would be vindicated by police over alleged ‘irregularities’ in his expense claims and now waits to hear whether or not he faces action by the district council’s conduct committee.

Coun King, who is currently suspended from his position on Fenland’s cabinet and also from the Conservative group, said: “I am delighted the police have decided not to proceed with any further investigation into the matter. It took them around 10 days to decide it was not worth pursuing, which is what my solicitor advised me all along would happen.

“Now it will have to go through the council’s own conduct process and there are various options within those procedures, but I feel certain I will be completely exonerated.”

The Wisbech councillor said in the meantime his solicitor was looking into the way the council acted over the matter.

“My solicitor is looking to make sure the council has followed the proper procedures in the handling of this matter - I am uneasy about the unfairness of the way it appears to have been conducted by just one person, the monitoring officer, who is the complainant and the investigating officer,” he said.

Coun King said he was “astonished” when the matter was first made public that it had been reported to the police and maintained he was “completely innocent”.

The allegations were that he had been overpaid by £1,511.10 for travel expenses over the last five years. Councillors can claim 45p a mile for journeys made on council business.

He blamed the ambiguity of council policy on whether or not it was acceptable to take detours to visit constituents either before or after a council meeting for the problem.

However, he has said in future he would restrict his mileage claims to just travelling from his home in Wisbech to Fenland Hall in March a distance of no more than 25 miles. He would not include any detours to visit constituents in future claims and he would also claim from his home to Fenland Hall and not from other departure points.

Last month he voluntarily repaid the council £1,511.10 which covered the alleged over payment.

At the time he said: “I made this payment, which goes back over five years, to avoid any impression that I was benefiting improperly from Fenland District Council.”