Picture 13 The BBC reports:

"The leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, who is facing a public inquiry into pornographic images found on his laptop, has resigned. Councillor Stephen MacLoughlin said he took the decision, at a meeting of his local Tory party on Thursday, to "draw a line" under recent events.

"A council inquiry was held privately and no further action taken, but a public inquiry will be held next month. The material was discovered after a routine IT service in December 2008."

The Bournemouth Echo reports quotes Cllr MacLoughlin's explanation for his decision:

“The recent stories regarding the conduct of Richard Powell and Douglas Spencer, which when added to the ongoing council process against John Beesley and myself, have had the effect of distracting public attention from the successful policies the Conservative administration is pursuing to improve Bournemouth and to protect the town from the worst of the recession.”

He added that “the cumulative impact has been damaging and I have decided it is in the interests of the town, the council and the Conservative party to resign as leader at this time so that the public can have confidence that the Conservatives in Bournemouth put the public interest first.

“My resignation is intended to limit the damage to our reputation and to allow that reputation to be repaired as we lead up to next May’s elections.”

Jonathan Isaby

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