Backbenchers accuse own leaders at Northamptonshire County Council of hiding true state of awful finances

Half of the backbench members of Northamptonshire County Council's Conservative Group signed the statement
Half of the backbench members of Northamptonshire County Council's Conservative Group signed the statement

Half of the backbench members of Northamptonshire County Council's Conservative Group have signed a statement endorsing and supporting the county's seven MPs' view on the authority's leadership.

On Sunday Michael Ellis (Northampton North), Andrew Lewer (Northampton South), Chris Heaton-Harris (Daventry), Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire), Philip Hollobone (Kettering), Peter Bone (Wellingborough) and Tom Pursglove (Corby) released a statement saying they had no faith in Tory administration of the county council.

They said the administration was to blame not the Government and that efforts by MPs, and backbench county councillors, to scrutinise the financial performance of the council were dismissed.

They also called for the Government to appoint commissioners to take over the running of the council once the current, on-going inspection was complete.

“As backbench Conservative members of Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) we are appalled at the recent revelations regarding the Council’s finances -the true state of which was hidden from us," read the backbenchers' statement. "We believe that, despite the best efforts and hard work of many talented members of staff, the performance of the County Council falls way short of the standards that we and the public expect from a Conservative administration

"We therefore endorse the recent statement issued by our Members of Parliament and offer them our full support.

"We recognise and share their frustrations with the way that certain Cabinet members have failed to provide sufficient clarity and openness regarding the state of the authority’s finances, despite constant questioning and pressure from us as backbenchers and other interested parties.

"Furthermore, we support the call for the Best Value Inspection to conclude as soon as possible in order for the Government to take appropriate action.

"It is our belief that only through the intervention of the Secretary of State will we be able to move towards a suitably structured, well-managed system of local government, free from the constraints of a Cabinet system: one that will serve the needs of all Northamptonshire’s residents, who pay good money to receive good public services.”

The following councillors signed the statement: Cllr Fiona Baker (Brackley), Cllr Adam Brown (Bugbrooke), Cllr Pinder Chauhan (Sixfields), Cllr Michael Clarke (Hackleton and Grange Park), Cllr Scott Edwards (Wicksteed), Cllr Jonathan Ekins (Brickhill and and Queensway), Cllr Rob Gough (Earls Barton), Cllr Martin Griffiths (Irchester), Cllr Mike Hallam (Boothville and Parklands), Cllr Amy Howard (Daventry East), Cllr Cecile Irving-Swift (Brixworth), Cllr Sandra Naden-Horley (Corby Rural), Cllr Dr Andy Mercer (Rushden South), Cllr Gill Mercer (Finedon), Cllr Steve Osborne (Long Buckby), Cllr Victoria Perry (Ise), Cllr Sam Rumens (Kingsthorpe North), Cllr Adil Sadygov (Towcester and Roade), Cllr Allen Walker (Deanshanger), Cllr Malcolm Waters (Hatton Park).

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story listed Cllr Rebecca Breese (Middleton Cheney) as a signatory but it was an error on behalf of the backbenchers who sent out the statement.