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Allah Ditta - no confidence
COUNCILLOR Allah Ditta was handed a vote of ‘no confidence’ last night – leaving his political career hanging in the balance.
During an hour-long, heated debate at the Guildhall , a majority of Worcester’s councillors approved a motion calling on him to resign from two key roles.
During the arguments rival politicians said his actions were “at best regrettable, at worst deplorable” and claimed he had “embarrassed” Worcester City Council .
In the end 15 Labour councillors, one Liberal Democrat and one Green politician all teamed up in a formal vote, defeating the controlling Tory group 17-16.
All 16 Conservative councillors present at the meeting voted in favour of Councillor Ditta, but it was not enough.
The motion calls on the controversial former city mayor to “resign immediately” as vice-chairman of the audit committee and chair of the Hopmarket sub-committee after “bringing the council into disrepute”.
It was put forward after Coun Ditta was secretly recorded threatening to dig up a dead man’s body in a dispute with a grieving family at Worcester’s private Muslim cemetery. Listen to the audio again below.
Councillor Adrian Gregson , Labour group leader, said: “He tarnishes the rest of us with his behaviour – this is the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“The motion calls upon him to resign – in reality he should have done so already, but he hasn’t, so we are being forced into this position.”
Councillor Jo Hodges, also a Labour councillor, added: “His behaviour is at best regrettable and at worst deplorable – is this the public face we want to present of the city council? To say he was not acting as a councillor at the time of the incident fudges the issue.”
During the debate tempers flared on both sides, with Tory Councillor Marc Bayliss, the deputy leader, saying it was the “saddest and most reprehensible” motion he had ever seen.
Coun Ditta also spoke, and said he had “used words which were inappropriate” but added “we’ve all said things we regret” later on.
The row with the family was over a £400 bill for graveyard preparation which the family say was not done by Coun Ditta.
The city’s Conservative leadership has maintained that while it does not condone his actions, he was acting in a “private capacity” as a cemetery volunteer.