Sunderland City Council leader speaks out after complaint against him is dropped

A full meeting of Sunderland City Council took place this week.
A full meeting of Sunderland City Council took place this week.

Sunderland’s City Council’s leader, Graeme Miller, has spoken out over after a complaint in relation to his involvement with a housing firm was dropped.

Coun Miller was listed as a director of private firm, Ashcore Homes Ltd, between January 27, 2017 and August 30, 2018.

Councillor Graeme Miller.

Councillor Graeme Miller.

The company remained dormant since it was formed in 2016 and applied to be removed from the Companies House register in September.

The same month, it was revealed a complaint from the member of the public had been lodged over Coun Miller’s links with the firm and whether he should have declared interests.

At a full council meeting held at Sunderland Civic Centre on Wednesday, Coun Miller said he aimed to respond fully to “lies, rumours and smears” over the issue now the complaint process had concluded.

He said: “The assessment sub-committee of the standards committee has considered a complaint submitted by a member of the public, which alleged I had breached the members code of conduct by not declaring my directorship of a company called Ashcore Homes Ltd.

“It was alleged that I should have declared this role on the councillors’ register of members interests and also at a number of cabinet meetings at which matters were considered, which the complainant alleged were relevant to my role as a director of Ashcore.

“I’m pleased to inform council that the assessment sub-committee has determined that no further action should be taken in respect of the complaint.

“Ashcore, as I always said, was a dormant non-trading company from which I did not receive any remuneration

Related: Complaint lodged against Sunderland City Council leader

“The sub-committee concluded that there were no requirements for me to declare the directorship on the register as it did not amount to a disclosable pecuniary interest, nor had any grounds been made out to indicate that I should have declared an interest at the cabinet meetings referred to.”

The comments came in response to a public question by Rod Hepplewhite, noting public speculation about the council leader’s links to the housing firm and asking for an update on the complaint’s outcome.

Coun Miller added: “So let’s be very clear, I have done nothing wrong with regards to Ashcore, I never denied I was a director of Ashcore, it’s a dormant non-trading company.

“Nothing happened with Ashcore and I’m looking forward to my social media trolls apologising to me for all the lies they have told me over the past year and a half.

“I’ll probably have a long time waiting on that.”

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service