Personal statement by Councillor Steve Morphew, Leader of Norwich City Council and Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Brian Watkins, Leader of the LibDems and Councillor Antony Little, Leader of the Conservatives.
Steve Morphew, leader of the council, said: “I have every confidence that the inquiry is dealing with this seriously and thoroughly and will report fully at the earlier possible opportunity. The final report will be made public, along with any lessons that need to be learned.
“I am as concerned as anybody about this as it clearly raises important issues and I also want to be reassured that proper procedures are in place and being followed.
“I would like to make it absolutely clear that I did not know properties were being offered to Green Party councillors. I have reported the matter to the council’s standards committee as this is clearly a serious allegation.”
Brian Watkins, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “I am very concerned that it appears a councillor knew what was happening 18 months ago, and that he did not go through the proper procedure, which would have been to report it to the council. There appears to have been a serious lack of judgement from the Green Party and also from their leader.
“I am reassured that the investigation is proceeding as quickly as possible, but there are clearly important issues that need to be addressed. When the inquiry is finished, that will be the time to comment further.”
Antony Little, leader of the Conservative Group, said: “There has been a great deal of public speculation about who knew what. It is clear that some Green Party councillors knew this was going on but did not see fit to report it, as is their statutory duty.
“The Green Party has been calling for a full investigation and now it appears they have information that may be critical to that inquiry.”
“We have a responsibility to act in the best interests of the people of Norwich and it needs to be clear who knew what and why they did not bring it to the council’s attention sooner.”