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Mid Devon councillor apologises but refuses to resign after benefit fraud
11:14am Friday 28th February 2014 in News
THE Mid Devon councillor who last month pleaded guilty to benefit fraud has issued an apology to his electorate – but insists he will not be resigning from office.
Cllr Kevin Wilson, 55, of Besley Close, Tiverton, received a ten-week suspended sentence with 200 hours’ community service after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud.
His apology came the day after Mid Devon District Council pas-sed a motion calling for his immediate resignation.
Members passed the motion by 22 votes to three with eight councillors abstaining, but Cllr Wilson, a former Tiverton Mayor, says the decision on his future will be made by the electorate at next year’s council election.
He said: “The first thing I need to do following the meeting is to say to my electorate how sorry I am.
“There hasn’t been an appropriate moment for me to say it and I’ve been very troubled by that.”
“I made a mistake and I’ve been punished for it, and I apologise to my electorate for that.
“I’m going to do exactly whatthe court instructed and that is that I would be able to remain and that is what I intend to do.
“It will be for the electorate in my ward to make the final decision at next year’s election.”
Council chief executive Kevin Finan last week said they would have sacked Cllr Wilson ‘on the spot’ if they had the legal power to do so, but Mid Devon District Council has no legal grounding to remove Cllr Wilson from office, because his sentence fell short of the minimum 13 weeks which would have triggered an automatic disqualification from his position.
Mid Devon’s next district council election is May 7, 2015.