Taxi-gate: Council welcomes back two councillors

Leader of the Council, Councillor Pete Marland.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Pete Marland.

Councillors embroiled in the rapist taxi driver scandal have been given new council jobs.

Labour’s 84-year-old Councillor Gladstone McKenzie resigned from his post as vice-chairman of the licensing committee after it emerged he had agree that a rapist should keep his taxi licence.

Councillor Gladstone McKenzie PNL-150120-174042001

Councillor Gladstone McKenzie PNL-150120-174042001

At the time his party leader, Pete Marland, said he exercised “very poor judgement,” and chose not to appoint him to new committees.

But just five months later, Mr McKenzie has joined the environment and transport select committees.

Mr Marland said: “Mr McKenzie was very clear that what he did was wrong and was the only councillor to express remorse straight away.

“He remains a councillor and to justify that he has to continue to work on the council.”

Stuart Burke, who stood down as chairman of the 
licensing committee amid taxi-gate, was given a new role by his fellow Lib Dems just weeks after the scandal broke. Last week he joined the joint negotiating committee.

Fellow Lib Dem Subhan Shafiq resigned as mayor over the scandal, when it emerged he had personally vouched for the convicted rapist’s bid to become a city cabbie.

He stood down as a councillor three months later.

Lib Dem councillor Chris Williams, who replaced his colleagues on the licensing committee and adult social care select committee, said: “I regret that the changes had to be made, but I am very happy to be on that role.

“My view is that this has been a pretty bad mess all round.

“But people have made choices and it is up to the Labour leader to decide what should happen to councillors – if they believe they have drawn a line over it, then so be it.”

The Lib Dem group’s campaign manager, Jane Carr, recently told the Citizen she would not be making the findings of an internal investigation into the scandal public.