Manchester

'No external probe' into physio deal, Cheshire East Council told

No "external investigation is required" into the way contracts were awarded to a firm run by a council leader's physiotherapist, councillors were told.

Cheshire East Council leader Michael Jones, who denies any wrongdoing, resigned on Wednesday amid questions over the contracts.

There have been growing calls for an independent investigation.

But the council's chief executive told a council meeting the authority's own auditors, would "establish the facts".

The council waived its financial rules when it granted three contracts to Core Fit Ltd, collectively worth £156,000.

The company, which is owned by physiotherapist Amanda Morris, runs fitness classes in schools.

'Very fond'

Emails show Mr Jones helped the company and lobbied on its behalf.

He had denied he is Ms Morris's partner, but added "I'm very fond of anybody who makes me lose six and a half stone".

Ms Morris has yet to respond to requests for an interview.

The borough's mayor, Hilda Gaddum, told the BBC last week: "We desperately now need an independent investigation and all I can hope is that enough councillors from all parties agree to that."

Labour councillors and a handful of Conservatives have also called for an external investigation.

Chief executive Mike Suarez, told the meeting earlier "opportunities for improvement have been identified" by the internal investigation, but he said it had "not uncovered any areas of wrongdoing that an external agency would investigate".

"An informed decision will be made to establish whether action is to be taken for any breach of procurement rules".

Michael Jones told journalists on Wednesday "not one penny has been passed to me" from the contracts, and insisted he had "never misled anybody" over his involvement with Core Fit Ltd.

He added: "I don't see any need for an (external) investigation."

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