More West Northants Conservatives speak out against disgraced former leader following his resignation

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“Jonathan Nunn should resign from the council. Failing that, the Conservative Party must remove the whip from him immediately.”

Here’s what West Northants Conservative councillors are saying following the resignation of disgraced former leader Jonathan Nunn.

Councillor Nunn stood down as leader of the West Northants Council (WNC) and cabinet member with immediate effect on Thursday (April 18).

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His departure came following mounting pressure to resign after BBC investigations published further allegations against Councillor Nunn, relating to claims of domestic abuse. Councillor Nunn denies the allegations.

Jonathan Nunn stood down following further claims of domestic abuse, which he denies.Jonathan Nunn stood down following further claims of domestic abuse, which he denies.
Jonathan Nunn stood down following further claims of domestic abuse, which he denies.

WNC confirmed on Friday (April 19) that election of a new leader will take place at the annual council meeting on May 16.

In the meantime, deputy leader of the council, Conservative councillor Adam Brown will carry out the role of leader alongside his current cabinet duties for housing, culture and leisure.

However, councillor Nunn still remains a councillor for the Nene Valley ward.

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Independent councillor Ian McCord has now called for councillor Nunn to leave his role as a councillor altogether.

Councillor McCord said: “We recognise that the council cannot suspend a councillor as we are not employees.

“Jonathan Nunn should resign from the council. Failing that, the Conservative Party must remove the whip from him immediately. We have lodged a complaint with the national Conservative Party demanding his suspension as the local party will not act.

“In the event that the Conservatives do suspend him, we have zero tolerance for domestic abuse, he will NOT be welcome to sit in our group.”

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Councillor McCord has today (Monday) confirmed that Middleton-Cheney councillor Richard Solesbury-Timms has left the Conservatives to join the Independent party.

"Richard has stated that the Conservative Group’s continued inaction and stance on the group cannot continue and had resigned the whip,” said councillor McCord.

The first Tories to speak out against councillor Nunn were councillor Cheryl Hawes, who withdrew her support for Nunn on Friday (April 12), saying she could him as leader of WNC, and then councillor James Hill, who said councillor Nunn’s situation has become a ‘significant distraction’ and said his position as leader was ‘untenable’.

Over the weekend (April 21 and 22), Conservative councillors Sam Rumens and Anna King spoke out against their former leader.

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Councillor Anna King said: "After considering the ongoing damage to the council and the blur in professional boundaries, I feel it necessary to update you on my position regarding our former leader Cllr Jonathan Nunn.

"I wish to reaffirm my ongoing support to all domestic abuse charities. As a survivor of domestic violence myself I can no longer tolerate the damage this situation is causing and the upset and pain victims must be feeling.

"I hope all the partnership work we have built on over the years will continue.

"I also would like to assure you that due to my role in the council and my work with vulnerable people and youth I am checked fully with a yearly enhanced DBS.

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"Jonathan over the years has always been supportive and professional in my opinion but we can not continue to have this damaging issue affecting our work, partnerships and safeguarding of our constituents."

Councillor Sam Rumens said: "It is the correct decision for Jonathan to step down amidst multiple accusations of domestic abuse. This alleged behaviour is very far removed from what any of us would expect of someone in a position of power.

"On a personal level, Jonathan has been supportive, collaborative and open-minded. He has often been by my side in trying to make positive change happen for Kingsthorpe and Northampton. Sometimes though you do not see all the sides of those you know.

"I have been reticent to say anything until I felt there was a strong enough degree of clarity over the claims being made. It's impossible to imagine how this has been for the women involved and I want to put on record my respect for their courage in speaking out.

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"Regret is definitely the word for how this has ended, and it is now up to Jonathan to do what he believes is right and for the Party to consider its response."

Conservative Councillor Karen Cooper (Bugbrooke ward) backed councillor Nunn in a bizarre outburst on Facebook.

Responding to one of her constituents sharing the news of councillor Nunn’s departure, councillor Cooper said: “You are so quick to judge. Take a look at YOU. YUK. The leader of WNC has complete support. Jog on...”

The victim of this post demanded an apology from councillor Cooper and for her to stand down.

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Responding to the Chronicle and Echo’s questions, councillor Cooper said: “I have no comment to make. Please don’t contact me again. If you do I will pass this to WNC Legal."Over the weekend Northamptonshire Domestic Abuse Service, Nene Valley Christian Family Refuge (known as eve), Northamptonshire Rape Crisis, Creating Equalz and Black Women’s Domestic Abuse Group joined forces to write an open letter to WNC accusing the authority of sending out a ‘dangerous message’ in the ongoing case surrounding its former leader.

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