‘I’ve got nothing to hide’ insists ex-council leader Geoff Driver

BRING IT ON: Coun Geoff Driver insists he has nothing to fear from an inquiry
BRING IT ON: Coun Geoff Driver insists he has nothing to fear from an inquiry
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Former County Council leader Geoff Driver is confident of being exonerated in the tendering probe which led to the suspension of the authority’s chief executive.

Coun Driver is demanding an investigation into why his business email account was hacked without his knowledge by County Hall staff looking for evidence.

And the head of the Tory group insists he has nothing to hide from any investigation into the awarding of contracts.

“I am perfectly willing to be questioned,” he told councillors. “I can say I will be able to stand up with my head held high, but I’m not sure everyone else will be able to.”

The row over accessing councillors’ communications refuses to die down despite members being told it is “routine” for organisations to monitor emails at work.

Former Home Secretary Jack Straw called for a full inquiry saying he shared Coun Driver’s outrage. And another MP, Burnley’s Gordon Birtwistle, stormed: “This is outrageous, unacceptable and possibly unlawful. It’s the sort of thing the Soviet Union did.”

Coun Driver, who failed last week to get the full council to pass a motion supporting Mr Straw’s demand for a public inquiry, said: “I absolutely have nothing to hide in my emails. If anyone had asked to look at them I would have said ‘yes.’

“Jack Straw is pushing for an independent inquiry - he clearly thinks there is something that needs to be looked at.

“There have been some rather scurrilous comments about me being questioned. Well I can assure the leader of the council (Coun Jenny Mein) that she will be questioned too.

“There may be an occasion when members’ emails need to be accessed, I would agree with that. But it should be a last resort.

“If emails can be accessed without proper justification we really are putting ourselves in a serious position.

“I agree with Jack Straw, let’s have this looked at and see whether it was appropriate to access them.”