The breach of conduct by Cllr Gulfraz Nawaz (Labour) has been widely reported following his action to provide a positive reference for a person, seeking a taxi licence, who had a criminal record. This was reported to the Council’s cross-party Standards Committee which has the responsibility for upholding the conduct of Councillors.
In July, the Committee concluded that Cllr Nawaz should be disciplined. Nawaz had a number of posts in the Council; as Chair of the Personnel Committee he is awarded a Special Responsibility Allowance of £7557. The Standards Committee members wished him to be removed from this position, as a minimum
Since July, he has stood down from the Planning Committee – however this did not affect his payments, consequently there was no punitive action. There have been calls for further action including attempts by the Conservative group to raise an emergency motion in Full Council.
The Standards Committee, chaired by Cllr Baggy Shanker (Labour), met last night – the first time since July. It was the opportunity for the recent ambiguity to be resolved.
The minutes presented to the Committee, according to Cllr Graves (UKIP) were wrong and he highlighted that it had been agreed that Nawaz should be removed from all committees, especially the Personnel Committee, where he received a Special Responsibility Allowance.
Graves further states that
“The Chairman, Cllr Shanker, claimed he was restricted to the sanctions as outlined in the Standards Committee list of sanctions. Cllr Shanker then tried to stifle any discussion on this even though I pointed out that the ‘any or all’ was, in itself, designed to allow Standards Committee members to specify.
To make matters worse, Cllr Shanker refused to allow the Independent and Co-opted members to air their views on the query raised, showing them contempt and disrespect for their position on the committee”
Flexibility had been exercised in the past when Cllr Pegg had been found in breach of the Code of Conduct.
Cllr Shanker despite protestations, forced a vote on the passing of the minutes. He and his fellow Labour Councillors voted for the minutes, Cllr Graves and the two Conservative Councillors (Cllr A Holmes, Cllr Poulter) voted against. The minutes were moved on the Chairman’s casting vote.
Cllr Graves said:
“This is called the Standards Committee because it is supposed to uphold the standards of the Council. What we saw tonight was a deliberate manipulation of the previous meeting. There is no integrity anymore”
Categories: Derby City Council