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Council sponsors conference

Council Leader Forced to Pay Back £1,000



At the Cabinet meeting on Monday 4 February a member of the public asked why Cheshire East Council had used taxpayers’ money to sponsor the Cheshire & Wirral Conservative Party conference. The Conservative Leader was also quizzed about tweets by a BBC journalist present at that conference.


Arif Ansari @ArifBBC

Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East on President Obama: "Dreadful man in America with no economic vision."

Leader of Cheshire East Michael Jones says of his senior officers: "we're pushing them out ... because they're not good enough."


The Conservative Leader of Cheshire East Council denied having used the words attributed to him, then launched into a tirade against the BBC saying,

“The BBC represent the left.”

“The BBC will not be allowed to bully this council.” This caused some wry smiles in the audience amongst those familiar with Cllr Michael Jones’s direct and rumbustious style of leadership.


The Conservative Leader then accused the BBC of playing politics and said

“Sponsorship of CW13 conference was in order to get a message to Eric Pickles.”


When pressed over whether it was appropriate for the council to be subsidising a Conservative Party conference so as to bring down the cost of the conference to delegates the Conservative Leader of Cheshire East Council said,

“I will happily reimburse the council.”

“I will happily pay the money myself.”

“I will write a cheque for £1,000.”


Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East, said

“Having lived and worked abroad I know how highly regarded the BBC is throughout the world. It is a shame that the Conservative Leader seeks to denigrate a great British institution simply because he has been caught out.”


Cllr David Newton, Labour Councillor for Crewe East, said,

“The council is embarking on a major change in management structure. Staff are key to the success of this project. We must keep staff morale high. Many of the staff will know about this tweet and that is important because if you cannot carry the staff and have their confidence then there are serious problems.”

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