THE LEADER of Worcestershire County Council has confirmed he will resign after being caught drink driving over Christmas.
Coun Adrian Hardman said he would step down at the next full council meeting on January 14 in a a statement released on Tuesday (December 29).
The 59-year-old Conservative failed a breath test and was arrested at around 8pm on Tuesday, December 22 in Tewkesbury.
Coun Hardman said: “Drinking and driving was a gross misjudgement on my part and I would like to apologise.
“In doing so I have fallen short of the standards that I set for myself and those that I expect from my fellow Worcestershire County Councillors.
“I will therefore be standing down as leader at the next Full Council meeting on January 14.
“I fully support the drink driving laws. I will be pleading guilty in court next month and will accept the punishment that is handed to me,” he added.
The leader of the Labour group at County Hall, Coun Peter McDonald, has called on Coun Hardman to also quit as a county councillor.
“One wouldn’t have expected anything else,” Coun McDonald said.
“A person in his position should be an example to everybody. I don’t think he had any other choice but to resign.
“He should have respect for the electorate and for the democratic process. He should do the honourable thing and resign as a county councillor.”
Coun Hardman’s cabinet colleagues at County Hall have begun reacting to the news by paying tribute to the out-going leader.
Deputy Leader of Worcestershire County Council, Coun Simon Geraghty, said:
“Adrian has been a superb Leader of Worcestershire County Council.
“I’ve worked closely with Adrian has part of the leadership team and we’ve not just balanced the books in difficult circumstances, but we’ve put forward a plan for Worcestershire.
“Adrian has been a very good and leader of the county council. I’m sorry to see him go and understand in the circumstances he’s shown leadership in taking this decision.
“I fully respect his decision.”
Coun John Smith, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Whilst I don’t condone drink-driving personally, I feel very sad that we will be losing him as Leader of the County Council.
“Having worked with Adrian for the last 7/8 years, both in his role as Cabinet Member for Resources and latterly as Leader, I have always found him an honest, loyal and up-front politician and a great leader and supporter of his Cabinet colleagues.
“In my opinion he has transformed the County Council beyond recognition and has always worked extremely hard for the tax payers and community of Worcestershire in providing excellent services, albeit with reduced resources.”