Conservatives In Turmoil After The First Resignation

In view of the ongoing and well-documented situation with Shropshire Council and following the resignation of Councillor, Matt Lee,  today (October 2, 2108) we are releasing statements by Ian Williams and Mike Harris, The New Saints’ Chief Operating Officer and Chairman respectively.



I fully support Matt Lee’s decision to resign as a Conservative member of Shropshire Council considering the way they have handled the grant awarded to The New Saints Football Club. They have severely damaged the reputation of our club and have certainly tarnished the excellent work we do as an organisation in and around Oswestry.

Ian Williams

Chief Operating Officer at The New Saints FC



I would like to applaud the principled stance taken this week by Councillor Matt Lee in announcing his resignation from the Conservative Party. He has taken a stand against the way that Shropshire Council has engaged in what appears to be a witch-hunt against The New Saints FC and myself over the grant received as part of the Market Towns Revitalisation Programme (MTRP).

The people of the Llanymynech ward can be proud of Councillor Lee’s exemplary response to this situation.  It is an approach that other councillors might follow, particularly those that are aware of the facts relating to the actual Grant Funding Agreement that was signed by the council.

Surely, as custodians of the public purse, it is the responsibility of councillors that are in possession of all the facts that to ensure that taxpayer’s money is spent wisely and not wasted on unjustifiable and costly legal actions. In fact, I am aware that several of the councillors who are in possession of the facts have expressed serious doubts about the council’s position. Unfortunately, there also seems to be many councillors outside the Chief Executive and Cabinet office who are unable to gain an accurate understanding of this dispute as the council, by its own admission, has deleted the relevant documentation.

Fortunately, I have full and detailed documentation including the Grant Funding Agreement and would like to make an open offer to view this to all councillors that wish to gain a better understanding of the current situation.  By prior arrangement, I will be happy to provide councillors with free and open access to all paperwork, including the Grant Funding Agreement, at my Oswestry-based offices.  This will enable them to make up their own minds regarding a situation that is destined for costly legal action in the courts.  I would assume that if councillors do not wish to take up this offer, they are in full support of the council’s position and will be judged by the electorate next time they go to the polls.

I also welcome the growing calls for an independent and rigorous review which will reveal the facts and who was responsible for the mishandling of this grant.  Only then can we finally put to bed an issue that has dragged on for too long and tarnished the reputations of both Shropshire Council and respected local businesses.

Mike Harris

Owner and Chairman, The New Saints FC 



(Image courtesy of BBC)