Lord Mayor faces standards inquiry

Banbury Cake: Lord Mayor faces standards inquiry Lord Mayor faces standards inquiry

THE Lord Mayor of Oxford is being investigated following a complaint about a comment made to a schoolgirl.

Oxford City Council has launched a standards investigation after a parent at Cheney School complained Alan Armitage, pictured, had said something inappropriate to a youngster at a Sport Oxford event last month.

Neither Oxford City nor Oxfordshire County councils would confirm the nature of the allegation.

However, the Oxford Mail understands the complaint is that Mr Armitage’s comment had a sexual element to it.

A complaint by a parent was made to the Headington school and was forwarded to the county council’s child protection service.

It found there was no risk to children but the county passed the case to the city council to see if its code of conduct for councillors had been breached.

Mr Armitage, a Liberal Democrat who is on both councils, was not available for comment. He has not been suspended or relieved of any of his duties.

A city council spokesman said the county council “confirmed that on the evidence available Councillor Armitage is not a risk to any children, but concluded that the members’ code of conduct may have been breached.”

She said the allegations would now be considered by members of the public who advise the council’s standards committee. It won’t comment further until this review process has been completed.

The review will decide whether a formal investigation is needed. Complaints can be dealt with informally.

The council’s standards committee cannot suspend or disqualify a member or withdraw their allowance. It can censure or reprimand them and demand they attend training or be removed from committees.

Its code of members’ conduct includes a demand members do not “behave improperly” and “avoid the appearance of such behaviour”.

County council spokesman Paul Smith said: “The school rightly passed on their concerns. These complaints have been thoroughly investigated by the child protection service.

“It is now for the city council to decide what action it wishes to take.”

Cheney School headteacher Jolie Kirby said: “It was an outside event and we have taken it very seriously and followed all the correct procedures.”

The city council’s Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jim Campbell said: “I know a complaint has been made. I don’t know the details of it.”

He said Mr Armitage’s Mayoral duties were not affected.

Mr Armitage, who represents West Central Oxford on the county council and north ward on the city council, is married with three children and lists his hobbies as music, history and his allotment.

On the city council, he is vice-chairman of the licensing and gambling acts committee and a member of the planning review committee.

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