Sanctions against Hartlepool assault councillor backed

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Councillor Gordon Cranney
Image caption,
Gordon Cranney resigned from the Conservative Party to continue to represent his ward as an independent

Councillors have voted to possibly impose sanctions on a fellow councillor who admitted an assault.

Gordon Cranney was re-elected to Hartlepool Council's Seaton ward in the May local elections - just a week after appearing before Teesside magistrates.

He was suspended by the Conservative Party and later resigned from the group but remained sitting as an independent.

Councillor Cranney himself backed the motion to explore sanctions, along with all councillors at the annual meeting.

The motion will now go to the council's audit and governance committee to investigate what sanctions can be implemented.

They could include the councillor being barred from attending committee meetings and any public representative roles, including ward surgeries.

Labour councillor Jonathan Brash called for the local authority's legal experts to explore sanctions in a "timely and as fast as possible manner".

Image source, Google
Image caption,
The motion to explore sanctions was unanimously backed by all councillors in the chamber, including Mr Cranney

The motion was unanimously backed, with Councillor Cranney telling the Local Democracy Reporting Service he would "see what happens" with the outcome of the investigation.

Hartlepool Borough Council is politically controlled by a Conservative and Independent Union, meaning Councillor Cranney continues to work alongside his former colleagues, although he has not been invited to join the coalition.

Mr Brash said: "We cannot allow such behaviour to go unchallenged and the reality is we have a criminal in our midst.

"We have someone convicted of a crime of violence against women, this cannot go unchallenged by this body, it will never go unchallenged by this body.

"Being elected to public office has integrity and it has standards and we will not stand by while someone denigrates those."

Image source, Gordon Cranney
Image caption,
Gordon Cranney met Boris Johnson in Hartlepool four days after his court appearance

Earlier this week, Councillor Cranney posted on social media he intended to stay on as an independent councillor and would "help everyone where needed, no matter what".

He has already faced calls to resign and contest the resulting by-election as an independent.

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