Former Lord Mayor of Leicester Robert Wann attends first meeting in six months
Former Lord Mayor of Leicester Robert Wann last night avoided been being kicked off Leicester City Council by attending his first meeting in nearly six months.
The veteran Labour politician last attended a meeting on May 17, when he handed over his mayoral chains.
Under the authority's rules he would have been disqualified as a councillor had he not turned up to a meeting before November 17. However, Labour group whip Councillor Barbara Potter, arranged for him to sit in on the economic development, culture and tourism scrutiny commission at the Town Hall last night.
Coun Wann is not a regular member of this committee but stood in for Councillor Wayne Naylor, who was unwell.
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Before the meeting, Coun Wann told the Mercury: "It does sound like I have not been around for six months, from the way it has been portrayed, but that is not the case.
"I have actually been attending council meetings and outside bodies as well.
"I was also at the Labour group meeting.
"It would seem outside bodies don't count for Leicester City Council.
"I have had meetings here and I have had meetings with the elected mayor in his office."
Coun Wann has been claiming his councillor's allowance of nearly £10,000 and £1,200 for travel and subsistence and said he thought people in the Thurncourt ward he represents would be happy with that.
He said: "When I finished as the Lord Mayor (in May) I did say I was going to take a couple of months off to see my family because my mother has been ill with cancer so I made sure she was okay.
"And, of course, I work full-time as well which you have to because the £500 you receive a month as a councillor doesn't keep anything.
"I have done 29 years now and I think I have worked my socks off in those 29 years. What we are talking about in these six months is eight meetings, all of which I have been represented at."
Coun Wann said he did not yet know if he would seek reelection in 2015.
Coun Potter was not available for comment yesterday.
However a senior Labour source told the Mercury: "I am not surprised he has turned up at the last minute. It is typical of Rob's way of doing business.
"Unfortunately, we have the situation of having to try to explain his absence to people. I'm not sure they will understand it. It has embarrassed us on many occasions."
"I hope we will see more of him in the next six months than we did in the last."
Tory opposition city councillor Ross Grant accused Labour of "rigging it" so Coun Wann could beat the six-month cut- off.
He said: "He is not normally a member of that committee but it has been arranged for him to be there. I still don't think anyone will think it acceptable that, at the back end of six moths when he has been away, he just comes back."