Councillor resigns after pocketing £23k in expenses for attending just 19 meetings

PUBLISHED: 08:44 19 June 2012

Rev Sara Cliff

Rev Sara Cliff

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Reverend Sara Cliff announced on Monday that she would be stepping down from her position as Tory representative for Lincoln East, following revelations that she attended less than half of the meetings of the council.

Between June 2009 and the start of this year, Ms Cliff was recorded as present at 19 out of 52 meetings held at the council.

Both residents and opposition political figures on the county council called for her resignation while members of her own party struggled to defend her record.

In a statement, Ms Cliff, who oversees the congregation at the town’s Methodist church on Berrycroft Road, said: “I have taken the decision to resign my position from the county council.

“While I did feel willing and able to carry on representing the people of Lincoln East, in view of the unwarranted hostility in the press, I am clear that this action is in the best interests of the Methodist church, the county council and my own family.”

Ms Cliff was elected to the county council in May 2009 and their records show that she attended six out of a possible eight committee meetings in 2009.

She attended four from a possible 17 in 2010 but only sat in on a single meeting in 2011 before she gave up any committee responsibilities earlier this year.

The records also show that, between winning her election and May of this year, the minister attended eight out of a possible 13 meetings of full council.

Local government rules state councillors must attend at least one meeting every six months.

Her critics claimed that Ms Cliff did not spend a penny of her allocated community budget in 2011 but she pointed out: “As a matter of record I have awarded my Big Society Fund to St Barnabas Hospice to help support the excellent services they provide.”

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