MP’s call for action after disgraced councillor stands his ground

Reporter: Alex Carey
Date published: 18 March 2016

DISGRACED Saddleworth parish councillor Mike Buckley, who refused to stand down despite being convicted of downloading pictures of naked boys, could be forced out in a move in Parliament by MP Debbie Abrahams.

The MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth is pushing the Government to bring forward legislation to make stop anyone convicted of a child sex offence serving on a local authority or parish council.

Buckley was found guilty of downloading more than 400 images of naked boys from a website and in December was sentenced to a 28-day curfew and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register. A series of measures and monitoring by the probation service was also enforced.

Mrs Abrahams said: “It’s regrettable Councillor Buckley has defied calls to resign. I understand there is currently limited legal recourse to remove him, though how to address this ambiguity is being explored.”

His refusal to resign as a parish councillor sparked outrage, but now Mrs Abrahams has asked Marcus Jones, Minister for the Department for Communities and Local Government, to act.

She also asked if he will give local authorities and parish councils the power to disqualify councillors committed of such offences.

The response from Mr Jones indicated that the Government intends to launch a consultation “as soon as practicable” this year to investigate proposals for changes to being legislative rules in line with sentencing guidelines.

Mrs Abrahams said: “While I find the response encouraging I will be pushing for a swift process.”

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