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TOP DONCASTER TORY QUERIED ON JUNKETS

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Doncaster MBC Conservative group leader John Dainty is one of a group of councillors to whom the district auditor h...
Doncaster MBC Conservative group leader John Dainty is one of a group of councillors to whom the district auditor has written inviting a response to allegations of junkets.

An Audit Commission spokesman said district auditors were legally obliged to consult anyone mentioned in a report, but that did not mean they were implicated.

Mr Dainty said the letter referred to an overseas trip last year. He expected every member who had travelled at council expense to have received a similar letter. Members had an average yearly attendance of 1.5 conferences each.

'I think his concern was that authority wasn't given for each conference and reports were not given afterwards,' he said.

Mr Dainty said it was clear in hindsight that Doncaster had had a culture of inadequate scrutiny of members' trips and there was a lack of awareness of correct procedure, but that had changed under the new leadership.

A critical district audit report in March led to the resignation of leader Peter Welsh and deputy Ray Stockhill, both since suspended by the Labour group along with three other members. Police are investigating fraud claims and an internal report is due soon.

A North and Yorkshire Labour Party spokesman said it had a policy of suspending members who faced serious allegations as a precaution, but the Conservatives had ignored claims against Mr Dainty.

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