Leicestershire council leader David Parsons faces police inquiry

David Parsons David Parsons is also facing a vote of no confidence from his own Conservative group

Leicestershire's council leader is facing a police inquiry over travel expenses for official trips to Europe.

Tory David Parsons was censured by a county council Standards Committee last week for not repaying money promptly.

The matter has now been referred to Leicestershire Police. Mr Parsons said he would co-operate with police.

Opposition Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors have renewed calls for his resignation but Mr Parsons has said he expects to have his named cleared.

An independent report found Mr Parsons had delayed repaying a publicly-funded body called East Midlands Councils (EMC) which initially paid for the trips.

Mr Parsons apologised and said a line should be drawn under the matter.

David Parsons had established a reputation as one of the region's most influential and high profile political leaders.

He was known for speaking up for the East Midlands in his role as chairman of the regional assembly, since abolished by the Coalition.

He also led the replacement body that represented local government for the region.

Up until last year he was tipped as a future leader of the Local Government Association which lobbies Whitehall and ministers on behalf of local councils.

It was in his role as chairman of the regional assembly that involved journeys to Brussels and Romania which he ran up the expenses that started this inquiry.

The Liberal Democrat leader at the county council, Simon Galton, said: "He could still remain as a councillor and I'm sure he could continue to do a useful job there.

"But in terms of the leadership, I really think he needs to take action."

Mr Parsons released a statement saying: "Having been made aware through a press release by Leicestershire County Council that the issue of my expenses has been referred to the police, I remain determined to maintain my good character.

"To that end - I have contacted the chief constable, and indicated my willingness to co-operate.

"As these matters are now in the hands of the police, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further."

In addition to this, a body called the Corporate Governance Committee will meet at County Hall on Friday to consider further allegations Mr Parsons used the council's chauffeur-driven car to attend Conservative Party functions.

He is also is facing a vote of no confidence when his Conservative group meets next Tuesday.

In the past week Mr Parsons has resigned from his roles as chairman of EMC and Environment Chair of the Local Government Association.

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