FORMER Coventry City Council leader and ex-mayor John Mutton has resigned from the Cabinet after breaching Covid-19 holiday quarantine rules.
The Labour councillor for Binley and Willenhall and Cabinet member for finance admits to attending a pre-arranged hospital appointment and picking up papers from the Council House on Monday October 5 during a 14-day quarantine period. He returned from a holiday in rural France on Saturday.
In a resignation letter to the council, Coun Mutton, says he understood an exemption was granted for pre-booked hospital appointments. “However, not understanding the rules is not an excuse for falling foul of them, and unlike Dominic Cummings, I believe that if you break the rules then you have to accept the responsibility and the buck stops with me,” he said.
Councillor Mutton’s breach was reported to the police by council chief executive Martin Reeves, and officers visited him at his home.
The 14-day quarantine has applied to all passengers arriving from France since August 15. Anyone in breach of the measure is liable to fines ranging from £1,000 to £3,200.
Coun Mutton said: “On Monday (October) 5th I attended my hospital appointment and thought it would be acceptable to call into the Council House to pick up some papers that I needed. During the 5-10 minutes that I was in the council house I observed social distancing and wore a face mask at all times.
“Later that afternoon, I had a meeting online with the chief executive who informed me that I should not have entered the Council House and that he was going to report me to the police for breaching quarantine rules.
“The police visited me at home and said that the quarantine rules around medical appointments were confusing and advised me that the only way not to fall foul of them was now to stay at home.
“I have enjoyed working with you for all these years and working on behalf of the Labour Group and the City of Coventry as a whole, but feel that the only honourable way forward for me now is to resign my position as Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources.”
In response Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council said: “John Mutton has been a tremendous servant to the city undertaking a variety of roles from Leader of the Council to Lord Mayor and more recently he has been an outstanding Cabinet Member for Finance.
“Indeed, everyone in the city owes a great amount to the tremendous hard work he has put in over recent years, when unprecedented amounts of money were taken from the Council every year in government funding as part of austerity. Due to his great stewardship, there are many services that we have still been able to offer when many local authorities have had to stop.
“I want to place on record my thanks for his work over the near two decades that I have worked with him in roles such as Leader, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member which I have enjoyed thoroughly.
“John is a good friend and although the circumstances surrounding his resignation are a great personal sadness to me, I do not want anyone to lose sight of the great service John has given to the city over many, many years.”
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