A HEXHAM councillor has called for an emergency meeting of Northumberland County Council following the suspension of the authority's CEO.

In an email seen by the Courant, Coun. Derek Kennedy joined four other councillors to demand an extraordinary meeting of the full council so that the council's leader, Coun. Peter Jackson, can explain why CEO Daljit Lally was suspended.

Coun. Kennedy, who represents Hexham West, said the CEO had contacted Northumbria Police over suspected wrongdoings.

He said: "I've been extremely disappointed with the way democracy has been handled in the county council since lockdown.

"Then to find out all of this. There's been some allegations and the chief executive has been suspended.

"Last year the external auditors resigned as the council's auditors and to have this taking place really makes you very concerned as to how the council is being run.

"The CEO has actually contacted Northumbria Police over the wrongdoings that she believes has been happening.

"We've lost the external auditors and the chief executive and the police have been asked to investigate – how much worse can it get?

"I just think it's a very sorry state of affairs. We're not getting any answers."

The email, which was sent by Coun. Kennedy along with Labour councillors Susan Dungworth, Scott Dickinson, and Ian Swithenbank and independent member Steven Bridgett, said the "ongoing lack of appropriate governance and poor political leadership is putting the stability of the council in jeopardy."

The councillors added they felt a full council meeting would allow members to ask questions of the leader and give him an opportunity to explain the situation.

The email continued: "The current position of the council is to provide members with no information or justification and our chief executive appears to have vanished without any explanation.

"Legally, we are required to have a Head of Paid Service in position and yet we have not even been assured that this is the case."

Northumberland County Council declined to comment on the issue further, while Northumbria Police have been contacted for comment.