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Former Leader of Welsh council suspended after helping personal assistant at interview

Former Flintshire County Council leader Aaron Shotton has been suspended from office by a tribunal.

The Adjudication Panel for Wales found the Labour councillor broke the code of conduct by helping his personal assistant at a job interview. He was suspended from the council for three months.

The panel heard a referral of the case from the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.

It found that Cllr Shotton breached the code by, in his official capacity, using or attempting to use his position to improperly secure an advantage for his assistant by providing her with an opportunity to view questions before her interview for the permanent personal assistant role.

Cllr Shotton additionally breached the code by sending and/or encouraging his assistant to send inappropriate messages, to include messages of a sexual nature, during office hours.

The panel said it expected to publish a full decision notice later this month.

Cllr Shotton stood down as leader of Flintshire last April during a public dispute within the Labour group between him and his then deputy Bernie Attridge. He cited the pressure this controversy had caused to his family.

At the time Welsh Local Government Association leader Debbie Wilcox said: “It is particularly disappointing that an elected representative has decided to stand down due to the challenges of being a senior public figure at this time and the impact that it has on them and their families.

“I am confident however that the council will be providing Aaron and any others affected with the necessary guidance and support.”

Mark Smulian