Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lib Dem Councillor - Fraud

STEPHEN Sharp has stood down from public life with immediate effect — five months after being convicted of fraud.
In a letter dated March 3, Mr Sharp resigned as a councillor on New Mills Town Council and High Peak Borough Council.

The trainee train driver has quit the roles because of work commitments.

He said: "I have decided, with great regret, to stand down as the councillor for New Mills West, on both High Peak Borough and New Mills Town Councils, with immediate effect.

"A daily commute to Leeds, and my current work commitments throughout the North West, make it impossible to meet the demands of regular council and attend meetings."

Mr Sharp stood down as the Liberal Democrats' Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the High Peak, before admitting eight counts of fraud and being sentenced to community service last October.

He faced continued calls to leave public life and stand down as a councillor on both authorities.

Now he has, there will be by-elections to fill the roles on the two councils.

These are expected to be held at the same time as the general election, which is believed to take place on May 6.

The posts are being advertised on the notice board at New Mills Town Council.

Mr Sharp explained: "I have waited till near the general election so the by-elections can run concurrently with it, thus saving council tax payers the cost of another election."

He added: "It has been a privilege to serve the electorate of New Mills and High Peak."

Mr Sharp went on to thank colleagues for showing support over the past five years.

Cllr Alistair Stevens was selected as the Liberal Democrats' Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the High Peak in February.

Three weeks ago, he refused to comment about Mr Sharp, when we asked: "Should he stand down from public life?"

Mr Stevens replied: "I'm here to talk about policies. As far as we're concerned, that's history. That's not a real issue."

He added: "I think this has been done to death in the press. We've moved on, they should move on a bit as well."

But since then, the Advertiser received letters from readers who raised questions over the issue.

Mr Stevens did not want to issue a statement, regarding the resignation of Mr Sharp, calling it a personal matter for him.


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