Fenland councillor Simon King ‘astonished’ expenses complaint has been passed onto the police - and denies any wrongdoing
PUBLISHED: 10:10 08 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:50 08 December 2017
Fenland councillor Simon King says he is “astonished” that a council investigation into alleged irregularities in his expenses claims has been passed onto the police.
Cllr King, who is also a Cambridgeshire county councillor, has denied all wrongdoing but has suspended himself from the council’s cabinet and its Conservative group until the investigation into his mileage claims – which date back five years - is complete.
He has also paid the council £1,511.10 – the sum of the alleged irregularities - to “avoid any impression that I was benefitting improperly from FDC”.
He said: “To my astonishment and to that of my solicitors, this complaint has now been passed onto the police.
“As my response sets out, I am completely innocent and my solicitors and I are confident I will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”
The allegations first surfaced on a Wisbech social media site and when they were first put to Fenland Council last Friday, the press office restricted their response to ‘no comment’ when asked to confirm or deny them.
In his response to Ms Pilson’s complaint, Cllr King admitted that some of his claims may have been for longer journeys than the shortest route, but also claimed that it wasn’t always possible to drive by the shortest route.
He said: “I am extremely sorry that this matter has escalated to the extend that it has become necessary for a formal complaint to be raised against me and the significant amount of officers’ time this matter has taken up so far.
“I accept that some of the claims may have been outside the officers’ interpretation of the terms of the Members Allowance Scheme Policy and I accept that some of the claims may have been for greater mileages than the shortest distance between the start and end points of the journey as shown on Google Maps.
“I do not accept that mileage claims are properly limited to the shortest route in every case, for the following reasons - neither the policy or claim form state that the route must be the shortest route.
“It is not always possible or desirable to travel by the shortest possible route. This can be due to traffic, road closures etc.”
He went on to deny that he had intended to deceive the council and that he had been over-paid by £1,511.10.
“It is notable that Fenland District Council has not made any request to me for repayment of any sums overpaid and has proceeded with the issue of a complaint,” he added.