The Prime Minister is being asked to suspend Croydon Conservative leader Mike Fisher over his secret 18 per cent rise.
Croydon North's Labour MP Steve Reed has written to David Cameron after it emerged Cllr Fisher increased his allowance during the last financial year when he was council leader from £53,000 to £62,352.
The councillor did this after privately telling council officers he would like to be paid more of the allowance he was eligible for.
In the letter to Mr Cameron, Coun Reed writes: “He has accepted a £10,000 increase in his council allowances . . . by demanding ‘back pay’ for increases in allowances that were recommended but not taken up by councillors between 2010 and 2014.
“Cllr Fisher’s behaviour appears to breach the Nolan Principles for Conduct in Public Life, and it is questionable whether it also breaches the legal requirements for the public declaration of payments to councillors.
“I have further concerns that the scheme of allowances agreed by the council in 2010 was deliberately phrased to persuade the public that councillors were not accepting increased allowances while giving themselves leeway to subsequently take increases without declaring them.
“Even if this was not illegal, it certainly appears to be an attempt to deceive the public.”
And in the letter the Labour MP asks the Prime Minister to support his request for the council to set up an independently chaired inquiry and to suspend Mr Fisher as Conservative group leader until the full facts have been established.
Croydon Central Conservative MP Gavin Barwell has said he is "angry and let down' by the news of the rise for his friend and party colleague but stopped short of calling for a suspension.
Mr Reed wants an inquiry to consider eight questions:
- How was the former leader of the council able to claim £10,000 additional allowances without declaring it publicly at the time, given the legal requirement for public declaration?
- Was political pressure put on council officers to ensure their compliance with the arrangements, and if so by whom?
- Who else knew that this payment was being made, and was there collusion to prevent the public from finding out?
- Was the phrasing used in the Review of the Scheme of Members’ Allowances 2010 deliberately intended to allow councillors to take additional allowances in secret after making public declarations implying they would not?
- Have any councillors other than the former leader of the council benefited from similar arrangements or attempted to benefit from them, and if so who?
- Have there been any other actual or attempted claims for additional payments by councillors, either as increased allowances, back payments of allowances, or loans, and if so by whom?
- Did the council’s arrangements in this case breach the Nolan Principles on standards in public life, in particular the requirement for openness and transparency?
- Did the council’s arrangements break the legal requirements governing payment and public declaration of payment to councillors and conduct in public life?
Click here to read the letter in full