Wakefield Council statement

10/07/2020, PR-9471

Wakefield city centre

​Gillian Marshall, Wakefield Council's Chief Legal Officer, said: "Under Local Authority legislation, Alex Kear remains a councillor. Wakefield Council is powerless to remove him at this stage.

"Central government has essentially left local councils powerless to take action in these situations. We do not have any authority to remove elected members from their position, regardless of the severity of their alleged crimes, unless they receive a significant custodial sentence. Therefore unless Cllr Kear chooses to resign, he remains a councillor. This will be reviewed when he is sentenced.

"As soon as we were made aware of the investigation by West Yorkshire Police we took all the appropriate safeguarding measures within our control and we will continue to do so."

Note to editors: Under the Localism Act every Council has to adopt a Code of Conduct and arrangements for dealing with allegations against Councillors. The relevant section (s28(4)) precludes dealing with allegations any other way. There are no powers to suspend or remove councillors. An elected member can only be removed by a democratic vote at a local election, resignation or if they receive a custodial sentence in excess of three months. Dependent on the sentence received, a councillor may be disqualified.