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Did deputy leader pay for’ absent councillor’s plane ticket home?

PUBLISHED: 18:11 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:26 25 August 2010

PLANE CRAZY? Peter Brooks, deputy leader of Greenwich council has not denied paying Danny Thorpe’s air fare from Australia.

PLANE CRAZY? Peter Brooks, deputy leader of Greenwich council has not denied paying Danny Thorpe’s air fare from Australia.

THE deputy leader of a council paid for a young councillor to fly back from a year-long trip to Australia so he could attend a last-minute meeting, it has been claimed.

EXCLUSIVE

THE deputy leader of a council paid for a young councillor to fly back from a year-long trip to Australia so he could attend a last-minute meeting, it has been claimed.

Greenwich council's Deputy Leader, Peter Brooks, allegedly paid the air fare of Shooters Hill councillor Danny Thorpe for an 'extra' meeting on September 16, thought to be scheduled to avoid a by-election.

Mr Thorpe, 26, could have been ejected from his seat for missing nearly six months of meetings, as reported in the Times.

According to a source, Mr Brooks paid for his flight back to attend the meeting and Mr Thorpe returned to Sydney less than a week later where he lives with his partner and has a full-time job.

When asked, Thamesmead Moorings councillor Mr Brooks did not deny he paid the air fare.

He said: "I don't wish to get into a debate on this.

"I see it is of no importance to your readers who paid the bill as long it was not taxpayers' money, which I have said in my statement that it was not."

The initial statement he sent read: "The challenge facing all political parties in selecting young people is that their lives are still changing and developing. Accordingly the drop out rate among young people in local government is desperately high.

"His wish to remain a member of the council and to continue as a young person in public life was demonstrated by his commitment to return to London to ensure he could continue in this capacity when his travel opportunity concludes in the next few months. He intends to return and continue to carry on his work as a councillor. In the meantime, modern communications mean that he is in regular touch with the leader of the council and with his co-councillors on matters of concern to his constituents."

Greenwich council insisted that Mr Thorpe offered to resign before emigrating to Australia for a year, but the leader of the council, Chris Roberts, personally intervened and asked him to remain in office.

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk


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