Call for release of council expenses papers
PRESSURE is mounting for evidence into an expenses inquiry at Stroud District Council to be released – or risk an embarrassing leak.
A governance inquiry in to how mistakes were made in administering expenses was supposed to be held in public, but minutes of the six meetings have not been made available.
Some councillors believe there will remain suspicions around Ebley Mill unless the information is made public.
At Thursday's full council meeting, calls were made to get the whole affair out in the open, and release the minutes.
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The council's legal adviser said this was not possible because they could contain defamatory information and be subject to the Data Protection Act.
"I understand the sentiment but it is about the common good," said councillor Steve Lydon (L, The Stanleys), pictured, who made a formal request for the minutes to be released.
"We have half a story – all I want is to see it in the public realm and allow the public to decide.
"I suggest if we don't release it now, somebody else will do it."
He resisted the temptation to name names.
"If I was in Parliament I could use Parliamentary privilege to name who this is about," he said.
He added: "I would love to name this person but my wife would shoot me because I would get sued."
Councillor David Drew (L, Farmhill and Paganhill) called for full disclosure. "There are people out there who are interested in this issue," he said. "What went on should not have gone on."
The council also backed four other recommendations aimed at tightening up expenses.