Council says it is unable to remove convicted councillor ahead of sentencing

Wakefield Council has explained to local residents that it is powerless to remove a councillor convicted of sex offences involving children.

Independent councillor Alex Kear is reported by the BBC to have admitted trying to entice a child aged under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and attempting to incite a child into pornography.

He is due to be sentenced on 20 August at Leeds Crown Court.

Gillian Marshall, the council's chief legal officer, said: "Under local authority legislation, Alex Kear remains a councillor. Wakefield Council is powerless to remove him at this stage.

"Central government has essentially left local councils powerless to take action in these situations. We do not have any authority to remove elected members from their position, regardless of the severity of their alleged crimes, unless they receive a significant custodial sentence. 

“Therefore unless Cllr Kear chooses to resign, he remains a councillor. This will be reviewed when he is sentenced.”

She said the council had taken “appropriate safeguarding measures” when it became of West Yorkshire Police’s investigation of the matter.

Mark Smulian

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