Lib Dem run Cheltenham Council have lost their court case against their former Managing Director Christine Laird. They were seeking a million pounds from her on the grounds she hadn't fully disclosed details about her health before she got the job. But the judge found that her answers to the questions were not false. She left after a break down in relations between the Council leader Cllr Andrew McKinlay prompting concerns that the case was being pursued against her for vindictive reasons. So far as I can gather we are still awaiting a decision on the awarding of costs. This has been a lengthy legal saga with claim and counter claim. The only clear winners are the lawyers and the only clear losers the Council Taxpayers of Cheltenham.
Laurence Robertson, a local Consevative MP says:
"I have long been concerned about Cheltenham Borough Council's determination to pursue this case, for three main reasons.
"To start with, it was very doubtful as to whether they could succeed in this case and that should always be a major factor when considering taking taking legal action.
"Secondly, even if they had have won the case, do they really believe that Mrs Laird had a million pounds in her purse to enable her to compensate the Council? There is an old legal saying that there is no point in suing a man of straw, and while I'm not suggesting that Mrs Laird would fall into that category very few of us could pay a million pounds in compensation. So what was the point?
"And thirdly, I'm concerned that this action may have been party politically motivated. If that is so, the ruling Lib Dem council owes the taxpayer an explanation.
"Recently, we've seen Cheltenham Borough Council losing millions of pounds on a couple of projects, doing their best to help finance the football club when some of their members were beneficiaries of the Chairman and now this. I believe that the people of Cheltenham deserve a better run council than this."