Suspended Lancashire council chief denies allegations

Phil Halsall
Image caption Phil Halsall said he expected to be back in work soon

The suspended chief executive of Lancashire County Council has described allegations made against him as "complete nonsense".

Phil Halsall was suspended on Monday following an independent review of the tender process for a £5m contract to run the council's fleet services.

In a private letter seen by the BBC, Mr Halsall said he was suspended on the basis of "unsubstantiated allegations".

Lancashire County Council is yet to comment on the contents of the letter.

Mr Halsall said he expected to be back at work soon.

He said the claims had not been discussed with him prior to the meeting in which he was suspended.

He said he was "vigorously" pursuing his reinstatement.

The letter was sent to personal contacts and was seen by BBC North West Political Reporter Arif Ansari.

The decision to award the fleet contract to BT was agreed in April by the then leader, Conservative councillor Geoff Driver.

A spokesman for the council, now run by a Labour and Liberal Democrat administration, said the decision was called in and had been on hold since, pending a review.

The council's fleet services are still being run in-house, the spokesman added.

Jo Turton, the council's executive director for environment, is the interim chief executive while disciplinary proceedings take place.

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