Northampton MP Mackintosh ‘jumped the gun’ in calling for chief exec to stand down, says Lib Dem leader

Councillor Sally Beardsworth.
Councillor Sally Beardsworth.
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An opposition leader has criticised the Northampton South MP for calling on the borough council chief executive to resign - when a number of investigations are still taking place.

In a statement last week, MP David Mackintosh said the most senior officer at Northampton Borough Council, David Kennedy, should stand down for his role in the failed £10.25 million loan to the Cobblers.

David Kennedy

David Kennedy

His call came after a brief report from audit firm KPMG found the authority’s measures for loaning funds to organisations back in 2013 were not ‘robust’.

But the Liberal Democrat leader at the Guildhall, Councillor Sally Beardsworth, said Mr Mackintosh - who was the leader of the council at the time the loan was approved - jumped the gun in calling for his former borough council stablemate to stand down.

She said: “There is nothing in the recently issued KPMG audit report that justifies any action by the borough council or the chief executive.

“In a few weeks’ time I hope we will all be able to read the reports from the auditors and the police, giving a full account of the procedures followed when granting the £10.25 million loan to the football club and the £30,000 donation to David Mackintosh’s election campaign.”

Councillor Beardsworth went on to say she hoped a series of investigations - currently being conducted by the police, KPMG and Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) - would determine who the “public hold to account” for the loan to Sixfields going awry.

A specially formed cross-bench council committee is also looking into whether David Kennedy should have declared his friendship with former Cobblers director David Jackson as an interest before being delegated responsibility for handling the loan in 2013.

Mr Mackintosh worked alongside Mr Kennedy for four years as leader of the borough council, before winning the Northampton South seat in May 2015.

In July, Northamptonshire Police confirmed it was investigating donations made to Mr Mackintosh’s election campaign and had been passed information by the Electoral Commission.

David Mackintosh has said on several occasions he welcomes the inquiry into the Sixfields loan and says he never considered any of the donations to have come from anyone other than the stated donors.

He told the Chron at the time: “I met all of the donors through various business introductions through Howard Grossman, he never once offered me any money or discussed any contributions to my election campaign, but said people were interested in donating to the Conservative party that he knew.”