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Snubbed: call for Mayor of Worcester to resign as controversy dogs council
CALLS have been made for the controversial new Mayor of Worcester to RESIGN - with a former city leader saying he has failed the public and should hand back the chains.
Worcester Labour Party has taken the unprecedented step of publicly asking Councillor Alan Amos to quit, insisting he is causing too much controversy as mayor and has failed the council's own code of "corporate governance".
Amid farcical scenes, 13 of the 14 Labour city politicians also refused take part in the traditional welcome to the mayor at Wednesday night's full council meeting, instead opting to wait outside the room rather than salute his entrance.
The snub was followed by fierce questioning by Labour group leader Councillor Adrian Gregson, who asked the Tory leadership to agree with him that Cllr Amos had "breached" the city's own code and said the room should "insist on his resignation".
The public row was rejected by Councillor Simon Geraghty, city council leader, who said it was "nothing other than political mischief".
Cllr Gregson told the room the council's own corporate governance code sets out expectations of "high standards" and "ethical principles".
He then said: "Would Cllr Geraghty not agree with the countless letters to the local paper and the comments of the full range of the political and social community in the city and county, that the behaviour of the mayor has breached this code?
"Would he join with me in seeking a meeting with the mayor to insist on his resignation, or would he support a reference to the standards committee?"
Cllr Geraghty said he "has full confidence in the standards committee" but "would absolutely not" support the request.
"This is nothing other than political mischief making," he said.
The dispute took place in front of a busy public gallery of observers.
It was Cllr Amos' first full council meeting he ran from start to finish, and when he entered the room the Labour benches were empty apart from Cllr Simon Cronin, a deliberate pre-planned snub.
It follows his decision to quit Labour last month to become an independent, a move which led to him voting with the Conservatives 48 hours later to allow them to wrestle back control of the council.
Cllr Amos was voted in as the new mayor on the same night, and since taking the chains he has already postponed the annual civic service and missed several engagements due to pre-planned holidays.
He also courted controversy on Wednesday night by teaming up with the 17-strong Conservatives to reject a motion to review the decision to scrap Worcester's park and ride services, meaning it was thrown out by 18 votes to 17.
Ironically, only last month Cllr Amos was Labour's transport spokesman at County Hall, and he also chaired a special buses forum aimed at improving public transport.
When he sided against the motion Labour's Roger Berry called him "disgraceful" and during another altercation two others swore at him.
Some Labour councillors also turned up clutching copies of satirical magazine Private Eye, which last week described him as their 'Rat of the Week'.
Cllr Amos has never revealed the exact reasons why he left Labour, only to say he did not feel "part of the leadership for some time".
He did attempt to become Labour's nomination for deputy mayor though, just days before quitting the party, and stormed out of a meeting when his request was voted down by former colleagues.