Blackpool MP stands down from role as Yorkshire councillor
Blackpool MP Scott Benton said he is stepping down from his role as a local councillor in Yorkshire.
The Conservative MP for Blackpool South has represented the Brighouse ward since 2011.
He was elected as the Tory MP for Blackpool South in the December 2019 General Election.
The retention of his council seat in Calderdale, while serving as an MP in Blackpool, has been subject to criticism and his confirmation he is stepping down has coincided with a petition on the 38Degrees website calling for his resignation.
It alleges he had admitted doing eight hours’ council work a month while receiving the monthly £879.92 basic allowance councillors receive, and as such was “letting Brighouse down.”
Following a Gazette investigation last year, it was revealed in January that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone, had found that Mr Benton had breached Parliamentary rules, including failing to register some financial interests including some of his councillor’s allowance, within the specified time frame, for which he has apologised.
Mr Benton has said he has given this money to charity and confirmed to the Gazette it was donated to ‘an armed forces charity’
This week Mr Benton said the petition was “a petty political stunt” arranged when political opponents knew he was resigning.
He said he was going to resign his seat in 2020 – but the local elections were then cancelled because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: “In 2019, I was re-elected with the biggest majority in Brighouse of any candidate for over 40 years and I proudly stand by my record of serving the community over the last ten years.a
“Very few, if any, community meetings have taken place over the past year because of Covid and so all councillors in Calderdale will have attended less community events and meetings than in a usual year.
“I’ve attended all of the council meetings I was required to attend over the past 12 months – more than can be said for other councillors – and I have assisted all of those Brighouse residents who have contacted me for help since being an MP.” On stepping down from being a councillor he thanked residents for their support over the years.