Council members sign 'under duress'

A mass resignation from a parish council has been averted. One of the seven members of Brunstead Parish Council, near Stalham, has resigned in protest at being forced to sign a revised version of the Code of Conduct for elected members of councils.

A mass resignation from a parish council has been averted.

One of the seven members of Brunstead Parish Council, near Stalham, has resigned in protest at being forced to sign a revised version of the Code of Conduct for elected members of councils.

The code requires all councillors to fill in a declaration-of-interest form. If they do not, they can no longer sit on the council.

After a meeting, the members have signed up.

Alan Edwards resigned as a token gesture on behalf of the council. He said all councillors considered resigning but it was decided to comply with the new code.

"In signing the register, the remaining members stated they considered they were being blackmailed and were only signing under duress and against their principles," said Mr Edwards. "If we had all resigned it would have meant we could lose control of the parish council.

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"This would certainly have resulted in costs as well as a precept being levied on the members of the parish. At present we pride ourselves in having a nil precept," said Mr Edwards.

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