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Councillor asked to stand down ahead of US move - but authority admits it cannot stop payments

Brian Riley with his daughter (left) and wife (right).

Suffolk County Council says it has asked a councillor planning to move to America to stand down - but cannot legally force him to or withdraw his allowance.

Brian Riley, who represents Hadleigh, wants to continue his duties from nearly 4,000 miles away in North Carolina.

He is allowed to keep claiming his councillor allowance as long as he attends one council meeting every six months.

And, once a councillor is elected, there is no obligation for them to remain as a resident in the county - or even country.

Suffolk County Council's Conservative group leader Mark Bee has removed Mr Riley from all committees and will not be re-appointed or given any position of special responsibility.

Mr Bee has also spoken directly to the councillor to encourage him to stand down.

"Following the introduction of the Localism Act 2011, the council has no power to suspend Cllr Riley, even if his actions were found to be a breach of the members’ code of conduct.

"There is also no legal power to withdraw or deduct his councillor allowance."

– Suffolk County Council spokesman.


Parents protest over children's centre closures

Parents in Suffolk protesting against planned cuts to children's services are taking their fight to the council today. Nine centres are earmarked for closure. Those who use them say it's a vital service they can't lose.

Parents protesting in Ipswich Credit: ITV News Anglia

They're demonstrating outside Suffolk County Council's offices in Ipswich this morning ahead of a meeting to make a final decision on the centres' future. Suffolk County Council says the closures will save £250,000.

The protest on the steps of Suffolk County Council's offices Credit: ITV News Anglia

Coastal erosion conference

A conference looking at ways to safeguard Suffolk's coastline against the threat of erosion and climate change is taking place today. It is hoped the event hosted by the Suffolk Coast Forum will highlight what work can be done to preserve the landscape for future generations.

The event at Thorpeness Country Club will showcase projects from local groups. Hosted by the Suffolk Coast Forum, it will comprise of community groups, Suffolk County Council, the Environment Agency, local councils and other organisations.

"We face many challenges: coastal erosion, pollution and the consequences of climate change. All of this means this event is timely, and I hope it will be the first of many such opportunities to showcase the fantastic work that many local groups are already doing."

– David Ritchie, chairman of the Suffolk Coast Forum