DEBBIE ABRAHAMS, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, has blasted a government minister for the time taken to respond about ways to remove disgraced Saddleworth Parish Councillor, Mike Buckley.
Cllr Buckley was found guilty last December at Manchester Crown Court of downloading indecent images of young boys and he was ordered to sign the sex offenders register.
However, despite calls from numerous locals and Saddleworth Parish Council, who have removed him from all sub committees, Cllr Buckley has refused to hand in his resignation.
Mrs Abrahams MP has sent two letters and an email to local government minister Marcus Jones asking for updates on actions taken to identify ways to remove Cllr Buckley.
But she has been disappointed by the length of time and lack of actions in response.
She said: “At the meeting I convened between Parish Councillors and Marcus Jones in May last year the minister stated his intention to consult on changes to standards for councillors.
“It’s absolutely appalling that eight months on, following two letters and an email, I have received a response that I can only describe as shoddy, lacklustre and inadequate coming from someone in his position.”
In his response in January 2017, the minister acknowledged a failure to respond to letters asking him about progress.
He added: “As you know this is something I’m very concerned about. The public rightly expect high standards from elected members and where that behaviour falls short of these expectations it erodes public trust in local democracy.”
The minister’s letter continues: “I’m giving this matter very careful consideration, considering not only how to address this particular issue but also how we might legislate for any changes once agreed.”
Mrs Abrahams MP said: “This just isn’t good enough. The situation is standing in the way of the smooth running of the Parish Council’s business so I can’t blame councillors and residents for expecting the Government to come up with a solution as soon as possible.
“It seems the minister does not take the situation seriously at all, despite his claim to be concerned both when we met him and in writing. At this rate, it’s unlikely the law will be changed any time soon.”