Northampton North MP backs calls for ‘open and transparent’ independent inquiry into Cobblers loan deal

Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton North
Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton North

Northampton MP Michael Ellis says he supports calls for an independent inquiry into the failed loan deal between the borough council and Northampton Town.

Mr Ellis, speaking after the club was given an extension to finalise a takeover deal that would secure the club’s future, said the first priority was to save the club.

But the MP for Northampton North added: “If there is to be an independent inquiry after that initial phase, I will support it.

“We must have full transparency about what has occurred and the public has a right to know what has happened to taxpayers’ money,” he said.

Mr Ellis said he did not believe there was resistance to a public inquiry.

“I am open-minded about the format, but I do feel it should report as speedily as possible and it needs to be demonstrably independent.

“It needs to look at all aspects of the situation, not just the council’s involvement. No inquiry worth its salt would be concentrating on a certain area. It must have a broad-brushed approach to examine all aspects its thinks are relevant,” he added.

“In the interests of transparency, it is a clearly a matter of public import that all questions from all sides can be addressed.

““I have every confidence in the leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Mary Markham, in the decision-making process of the borough council and the top priority must be to do everything possible to save the club. That is the first and urgent priority.

“The football club is nearly 120 years sold is a source of civic pride for Northamptonians. It is an institution in our town, and we must do everything we can to save it.”