Stoke on Trent Elected Mayor (Lab) arrested
Friday, March 06, 2009, 09:40
ELECTED mayor Mark Meredith was today arrested in connection with the police inquiry into alleged corruption at Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
He was picked up by detectives from Staffordshire Police's major investigations department this morning.
His arrest comes exactly a week after councillor Roger Ibbs was arrested on suspicion of corruption in public office.
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said today that a man in his 40s was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office and complicity in corruption in public office.
He has been taken to an unnamed police station in the county for questioning.
The spokesman said: "In December, Stoke-on-Trent City Council referred a matter to Staffordshire Police following an internal inquiry that may indicate criminal offences.
"The force's major investigations department is conducting a thorough, objective and detailed investigation into the matter and have secured the advice of special case lawyers in the Crown Prosecution Service.
"As part of the investigation it has been necessary to ask a second man to help us with our inquiries."
Mr Meredith had been due to brief journalists this morning on his forthcoming trip to next week's MIPIM development conference in Cannes to shore up investment in Hanley's Business District development.
But officers from the council's communications department cancelled the meeting less than an hour before.
Senior officers and councillors were being called to an emergency meeting today to discuss how the authority should respond to Mr Meredith's arrest. It is not yet known whether he will be forced to step down until the inquiry concludes.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has so far declined to comment.
The police inquiry is understood to be focusing on the city council's attempts to shut the splash pool at Dimensions Leisure Centre, in Burslem, last year.
Mr Meredith, aged 43, became Stoke-on-Trent's second elected mayor in 2005, when he defeated predecessor Mike Wolfe in an election. He is due to stand down from office in June after a public referendum in October voted to scrap the elected mayor system.
The news of the arrest comes after Mr Ibbs resigned from the Conservative Party less than a week after being arrested on suspicion of corruption in public office.
He had already resigned as leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council's Conservative and Independent Alliance group and portfolio holder for children and young people's services.
He also stood down from the council's appointments committee, set up to appoint a new chief executive. He remains a councillor for the Trentham and Hanford ward and has vowed to clear his name.
The 61-year-old, of Kingsway, Stoke, was questioned by detectives from Staffordshire Police's major investigations department before being bailed.
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