Potential new leader of West Northamptonshire Council suspended by Conservatives as party investigates complaint, party confirms

Councillor Ian McCord told of decision less than 24 hours before members pick new head after election

By Jack Duggan and Kevin Nicholls
Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 6:02 pm

The potential new leader of West Northamptonshire Council has been suspended by the Conservative Party while an investigation is carried out into a complaint made against him, his local party has confirmed.

Deanshanger councillor Ian McCord was told of his suspension yesterday (Tuesday, May 11), less than 24 hours before the group picks its new leader tonight (Wednesday).

The former South Northamptonshire Council leader had served as the head of the Shadow West Northamptonshire Authority for the past year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Councillor Ian McCord, speaking to the Chronicle & Echo on Friday night at the election count

The deputy chairman of South Northamptonshire Conservatives Association, Andre Gonzalez De Savage, confirmed an investigation had been started and that Councillor McCord had been suspended while the investigation into the complaint was carried out.

Councillor Gonzalez De Savage said the suspension does not rule Councillor McCord from standing in the leadership election.

Councillor Gonzalez De Savage, who represents East Hunsbury and Shelfleys ward, said the complaints will be investigated by a team from outside the association and Councillor McCord will have a chance to put across his case.

Councillor McCord won one of three Deanshanger seats at Thursday's historic elections for the new unitary authority, having been a councillor since 2011.

Cllrs Nunn and Bowen are expected to bid for the leadership of the new West Northamptonshire Council

Hours after his party took 66 of the 93 seats with 51 per cent of the votes cast, he said: “This is what we campaigned to do.

“We will bring the best of all component parts in West Northamptonshire to create the best council in the UK.

“We want to make West Northamptonshire a place where people are proud to live, visit, study and invest."

Former Northampton Borough Council leader Jonathan Nunn and ex-Northamptonshire County Council deputy leader Lizzy Bowen were also expecting to be bidding to lead the new authority.

The Conservative members of West Northamptonshire Council are due to meet at 6pm at One Angel Square in Northampton to pick their new leader.

West Northamptonshire Council was formed to replace the county council, Northampton borough, Daventry and South Northamptonshire district councils on April 1.

The changes came after the government ruled the county council should be abolished in the wake of it declaring itself effectively insolvent in 2018.

But the new authority was put on hold for a year during the Covid-19 pandemic with the first elections postponed from April 2020.

North Northamptonshire's Conservative group elected former county councillor Jason Smithers leader on Monday. He will be voted in as leader at a full council meeting on May 26.