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Motion calling for Cambridgeshire’s mayor to resign or suspend himself to be discussed



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A motion calling for Cambridgeshire’s mayor Dr Nik Johnson to resign or suspend himself amid a probe into his conduct will be heard next week.

Dr Nik Johnson the new Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority seen in Ely where the mayor's office is based. Picture: Keith Heppell. (56665032)
Dr Nik Johnson the new Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority seen in Ely where the mayor's office is based. Picture: Keith Heppell. (56665032)

It follows a whistleblowing inquiry and the shock resignation of chief executive Eileen Milner who quit her £203,000-a-year role last month.

In her resignation letter, seen by the Cambridge Independent, Ms Milner said the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) had been “disappointed” about her decision but had been “hugely supportive” around her reasons for quitting. She acknowledged leaving would have a “destabilising impact” on the authority.

Ms Milner said the “negative impact of the last few months upon my own health and wellbeing” had meant it was “simply not possible” for her to remain in the role.

A spokesperson for the DLUHC confirmed it was taking an interest and providing support to the combined authority.

“This is a matter for the authority but we continue to take an interest in the operation of combined authorities and provide support to the whole of the local government sector in a variety of ways,” the spokesperson said.

The Combined Authority has confirmed there are “ongoing whistleblowing matters” but would not comment on them further at this stage.

A ‘requisition’ calling for Dr Johnson, who was elected last May, ousting Tory James Palmer in an election upset, to “consider either resigning” or “voluntarily suspending himself” while investigations are ongoing. It will be discussed by at an extraordinary meeting of the Combined Authority board on Friday, May 20.

It was signed by leaders of East Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, Peterborough City Council and the Combined Authority Business Board, as of April 19.

The motion to be discussed says: “CPCA shall immediately send a request to DLUHC to request emergency support for the CPCA to assist the CPCA in fulfilling its legal responsibilities given that there will have been a breakdown of trust between the mayor and the board.”

A combined authority spokesperson said: “We do not comment publicly on matters relating to member conduct unless and until they have reached the outcome stage.”

The Labour mayor has said he could not comment while an investigation was ongoing.

Read more:

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s deputy mayor hits out as £50m lays unspent



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