Bid to oust town mayor

Councillors in Belper were on the verge of taking the unprecedented step of a ‘ vote of no confidence’ in the town’s mayor, in a bid to get her to resign this week.

However, the mayor, Councillor Deborah Biss, vowed not to stand down as Belper’s top civic dignitary and chairman of the town council after a row over previous decisions at the council, which some councillors claim need investigating.

Councillors have already walked out at the authority’s last two meetings in the town, leaving key decisions still on the table.

And last night (Tuesday, December 10) members were considering exiting early again if CllrBiss did not ‘apologise’.

But ahead of the meeting, she told the News: “They can’t make me resign and I won’t be doing so. Councillors are unrepentant to resolve the irregularities in the town council.”

The mayor herself has three outstanding complaints lodged against the council involving a voluntary and community group and local business.

Trouble flared when she queried previous minutes of the council taken by the town clerk, which upset some councillors.

Council leader Cllr John Nelson said: “It’s not protocol to criticise a council officer in an open meeting.”

Town Cllr Alan Cox said: “I asked the mayor for a letter of apology, but I don’t think there will be one. It’s a very sad situation. The council is not running its business efficiently at the moment.”

If the vote of no confidence is agreed it effectively means councillors have no confidence in the mayor to carry out her duties and that they want her to resign, but it is not legally binding and would require her to agree to stand down.