SOLIHULL Council leader Ken Meeson has defended the steps his party took after former cabinet member Ian Hillas was charged with sexual assault.
This week, Councillor Howard Allen (Lib Dem, Shirley West) criticised a “lack of action” by Coun Meeson, who is also cabinet member for children & young people. He said: “Ken Meeson is always emphasising the responsibility councillors have as corporate parents.
“If allegations of a sexual nature had been made against any employee of Solihull Council they would have understandably been suspended from duty (on full pay) until the matter were resolved. Ian Hillas should have been suspended following the original allegations of sexual impropriety in May 2009.”
He also called on Coun Meeson to stand down as leader of the Conservative group and the council.
Mr Hillas, a former deputy leader of Solihull Council, admitted sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at a party last year, when he appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court last week. He was ordered to pay £2,151 costs and must register as a sex offender for a year.
Coun Meeson said: “Coun Allen is mischief making. It really is cheeky as no one should know better than him the procedures in local government as he was suspended himself.
“Coun Hillas was suspended from the Conservative Party and the Conservative Group on the council. Coun Allen’s own party leader said ‘that’s the procedure we have in our party’.
“If Coun Allen was serious he should have made a complaint at the time. He has not been authorised by his own party to say these things and he is completely wrong.”
Speaking about what had happened since Coun Hillas was sentenced, Coun Meeson said: “The Conservative group on Monday will ratify his expulsion from the Conservative group.”