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Top Fenland councillor is among those calling for Cambridgeshire Mayor Dr Nik Johnson's resignation



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Fenland Council leader Chris Boden claims work at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority was "almost grinding to a halt" as Mayor Dr Nik Johnson faces calls to resign.

Councillor Boden has made his claims ahead of an extraordinary meeting of the Combined Authority's Business Board this Friday (20), when the resignation call will be discussed.

Coun Boden is one of five members of the Business Board to sign a motion calling for the mayor to go.

Councillor Chris Boden (right) is among those calling for Mayor Dr Nik Johnson (left) to resign. (56755235)
Councillor Chris Boden (right) is among those calling for Mayor Dr Nik Johnson (left) to resign. (56755235)

The move comes after last week's report by BBC News that Mayor Dr Johnson was under investigation over whether he took appropriate action over alleged behaviour of a former advisor Nigel Pauley. The BBC said it had seen a leaked report about the allegations; this report has not been made public.

While some have called for the Mayor’s resignation, it has been argued that this is not a normal expectation during an investigation.

Documents published ahead of the meeting reveal the request was submitted back in April by five of the then Board members.

These were Councillor Anna Bailey, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, Councillor Chris Boden, leader of Fenland District Council, Ryan Fuller, former leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Councillor Wayne FitzGerald, leader of Peterborough City Council, and Austen Adams then chair of the Business Board.

Since this was submitted Ryan Fuller lost his seat in the local council elections. Huntingdonshire District Council’s new representative at the Combined Authority is expected to be decided at a meeting today (Wednesday).

It has also been reported this week that Austen Adams has resigned as chair of the Combined Authority's Business Board.

Representatives from the district and city councils at the Combined Authority shared differing views on the situation.

Councillor Lewis Herbert, representative for Cambridge City Council, said: “The motion up on Friday was an attempt by the Conservatives during the elections three to four weeks ago to try to get this discussed during the election period.

“It is not normal to expect someone to resign just because of an investigation.”

But Councillor Chris Boden said members had been told not to discuss the motion before the meeting, and that it was an “extra difficulty” that most of the information referred to in the motion is confidential.

He said: “What I can say is that the situation in the Combined Authority is such that normal business is almost grinding to a halt.

“I also think it would be in the public interest for more information to be available to people, but that is not under my control.”

He added that there is an investigation and the Mayor would be subject to the proper process.

East Cambs leader Councillor Bailey said signing the requisition was not a decision she took lightly.

She said: “It is difficult to speak about it, I don’t want to prejudice the ongoing process.

“I signed the requisition order because I feel the action called for is necessary, particularly in relation to suspending.”

Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald said he was not looking forward to the meeting on Friday and did not “seek to run the Combined Authority down”, adding that it was a “sad state of affairs”.

He said there were questions that needed answering and that the resignation of Mr Adams was another reason for the Mayor to “consider his position”.



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