Welcome to Yorkshire: Council leader quits board over expenses probe

Stephen Brady
Image caption Stephen Brady praised "the great work" carried out by Welcome to Yorkshire staff

The leader of Hull City Council has stepped down from his Welcome to Yorkshire tourism board role.

Stephen Brady said he had "no option but to resign" because of "developing allegations" against former chief executive Sir Gary Verity.

Sir Gary resigned from Welcome to Yorkshire on health grounds in March but concerns were raised about his behaviour and expenses.

His legal team previously said he "made errors of judgement...nothing more".

Mr Brady said: "I have had no option but to resign from the Welcome to Yorkshire board, given the seriousness of the developing allegations and the lack of clarity and transparency provided to me since being invited to join the board late last year, including at my first board meeting on 12 March 2019."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sir Gary Verity resigned from Welcome to Yorkshire on 22 March after 10 years as chief executive

Welcome to Yorkshire announced last week it would be carrying out two independent investigations into Sir Gary's expenses and behaviour since his appointment in 2008.

Mr Brady said it was "absolutely essential" both investigations were "conducted with complete transparency and rigour and that all findings and recommendations are fully published".

Hull City Council pays £7,324 annually for membership to Welcome to Yorkshire and has been making payments to the board since it was established in 2009.

Mr Brady said the authority "will not be making any further contributions" until the investigations were completed and any recommendations implemented.

The tourism body said the findings of its two independent investigations would be "reported in a clear and transparent way in due course".

Lord Paul Scriven previously called for a police inquiry into Sir Gary's expenses, saying the board had received "£14.9m of taxpayers' money" in the last five years.

But police said it was "not clear if any criminal offences have been committed".

Lawyers representing Sir Gary previously said: "Expenses were submitted in the ordinary course and signed off."

They added "some errors had been made" and Sir Gary agreed to "voluntarily reimburse Welcome to Yorkshire for monies owed."

The BBC understands Sir Gary repaid more than £40,000 to the tourism body.

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