MP Mackintosh ruled council with an 'iron fist' claims Labour - and must 'resign' for his role in Northampton Town loan

David Mackintosh says he refutes the suggestion he put undue pressure on officers to get the Sixfields loan deal done.
David Mackintosh says he refutes the suggestion he put undue pressure on officers to get the Sixfields loan deal done.
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The Labour opposition on Northampton Borough Council say David Mackintosh "must resign" his parliamentary seat in the wake of the Sixfields audit report, claiming the MP has become a "national embarrassment."

Mr Mackintosh formed a large part of the debate at last night's crunch audit committee meeting, in which the borough council's chief executive, David Kennedy, announced his intention to remain in post.

Councillor Danielle Stone believes David Mackintosh must resign for his role in the Sixfields fiasco.

Councillor Danielle Stone believes David Mackintosh must resign for his role in the Sixfields fiasco.

However the Labour group on the authority think the Tory MP's position has now become untenable.

In a statement Mr Mackintosh said he refuted PwC's findings that "pressure" he put on Guildhall officers in 2013 contributed to the failings of the loan to Northampton Town.

The Labour Group, however, says he should "accept responsibility" for the loan's failure "rather than blaming others."

Labour Group leader, Cllr Danielle Stone said: "We have believed for some time that David Mackintosh should resign his seat. The recent PwC report, the internal auditors of the borough council, is highly critical of the every aspect of the way the NTFC loan was made.

"David Mackintosh MP was the leader of the council when the NTFC loan was set up. He ruled the authority with an iron fist. It’s inconceivable that he did not know what was going on.

"The PwC report makes clear that the Leader of the Council put undue pressure to get the loan sorted as soon as possible. He has declined to take his share of the responsibility."

There are still two ongoing inquiries taking place. The first is a police investigation and the second is a report by the external auditor KPMG. Sources suggest neither are close to conclusion, with both likely to run well into 2017.

KPMG have already made some initial comments in which they said due diligence and proper checks were not carried out on a number of loans, including the loan to the Saints to develop Franklin's Gardens.

Mr Mackitosh is set to appear in front of the Northampton South Conservative Association's executive committee on Friday. The association says the MP has not appeared at a meeting since January and has brought reputational damage on the party.

Councillor Stone added: "David Mackintosh must resign his seat.

"It is clear that he has lost the confidence of his local Conservative Association. To be honest he has become a national embarrassment for Northampton. Under his tenure he oversaw the mishandling of various of loans, only one of which went wrong. Thankfully, he got lucky with the others but that was down to good fortune rather than his judgement.”

Mr Mackintosh has responded to the call by saying: "My door has always been open to constituents and members of the party who want to speak to me about the loan or any other issue, and I have previously spoken with the association’s management committee on this.

"I apologise for the part I played in the granting of the loan to Northampton Town Football Club, and I am sorry that our efforts to support the club ended as they did.

"I do however refute the suggestion that undue pressure was put on officers to deliver the loan. As leader of the council, I always expected projects to be delivered without unnecessary delay, but never asked or pressured officers to cut corners.

"The report published by PricewaterhouseCooper has shed some light on what went wrong at the council when the loan was being put together, and I hope this means the same mistakes will never be repeated."