“I’m the Mayor and no-one has told me any different, I will be the Mayor of Boston until someone tells me otherwise,” Coun Brian Rush has told The Standard this morning (Tuesday), after councillors last night called on him to step down from the role.
Coun Rush confirmed he would be ‘fulfilling all my engagements’ to the best of his ability following last night’s Extraordinary General Meeting, where 21 Boston Borough Councillors voted in favour of an amended motion which also called for administrative support to be withdrawn from the role should Coun Rush refuse to step down.
The meeting was called after a number of councillors raised concerns over social media posts made by Coun Rush which they deemed to be ‘offensive and political’. The agenda item last night accused the mayor of ‘causing significant personal distress to those named and demeaned the great office that is The Worshipful Mayor of Boston’.
The agenda item said Coun Rush had ‘sullied the roleof First Citizen and champion of the Borough with petty, political point scoring that was factually incorrect’.
Mr Rush also criticised councillors for ‘wasting the scarce funds the council has’ on the meeting.
Mr Rush praised his time in the role saying: “I did not take the Mayorship for the support. I took the mayorship for the people.
“When I became mayor, that year, well that 3/4 of a year has been absolutely enlightening. I’m stunned at how wonderfully the mayor is thought of in this town.
“I made a commitment I would not be travelling all over the county and beyond and I have stuck to the borough council area as far as I can.
“I have gone to community centres, churches - everywhere I have gone it has worked.
“I’m absolutely over the moon about the amount of support I have found. That’s from all communities. The Muslim community, the Polish community, the Lithuanian Community I have visited and found them to be wonderful.”
He said there was no process for the mayor to be sacked.
“He has to stand down voluntarily. I think that tells you what my attitude is to that,” he said.
“The people of Boston should now realise this, This should never have got to the situation it has. It has cost money that could have been used somewhere else. Those people called that meeting despite being told there was not case to answer for that from the police.
“It’s just bizarre those people are responsible, they’re are supposed to be responsible. Why are they playing fast and loose with the scarce funds of this council.
Mr Rush said Facebook posts which had sparked the call for him to resign as mayor were ‘aged’ and accused members of ‘digging them up’- though the council’s leader Coun Michael Cooper told the BBC last night that the most recent was published in January, however, he acknowledged some of the posts which had been brought to the attention of members were from earlier.
He said what people considered political was a matter of perception - ‘what you think of as political and what you think as political and non-political.
Mr Rush said he was more concerned with the job - the mayor’s job and the councillor’s job - which he said ‘is to care for the community and that’s what we do’.
At last night’s meeting councillors criticised a statement Mr Rush made to the BBC last week, where he claimed that councillors had been unwilling to meet with the Muslim Community.
They called the statement untrue and confirmed two meetings had been set up, but had subsequently been cancelled.
One councillor went so far as to say they were taking legal advice regarding the allegations which they said had damaged their reputation.
Coun Rush however speaking to The Standard this morning issued his own challenge to the councillors. He claimed councillors had still to visit the Mosque on Horncastle Road, in Boston, and invited them to do so at an upcoming Community Day on Sunday, February 18, at 11am. He said those who did so would be ‘welcomed’.
He said councillors announcements that they were planning to visit and meet the Muslim community were ‘running down the beaten path’.
“No-one had been to see them except me when I became Mayor.
“I started this off, I went in there and I was proud of the way they treated me.”
Councillors at last night’s meeting however, said they were mostly concerned with posts attacking members at borough and county level and the town’s MP. They said he accused councillors of being dummies, not doing anything and was ‘very critical’.
Mr Rush called the post ‘political banter’ and said there were different levels of political strength.
It is understood one post centred on Mike Brookes and Mr Rush said he had not criticised him because of his borough duties.
He said: “One of the councillors, Mike Brookes, I have chastised him as county councillor, not because of his borough duties. He’s a very good local councillor.
“The ‘problem with all these guys is’, he said, that he felt the councillors did not represent the town at county level.
“They should go to Lincoln and represent us,” he said, “But I don’t think they did that properly.”
Since the meeting was confirmed, Mr Rush has faced a large amount of support from members of the public who have called on him to remain in position.
Mr Rush said this support from the public had been fabulous.
“Government is for the people, by the people and I feel a bit like that really. Suddenly, our councillors are hearing what the people are thinking on the street.
Do I know why they are supporting me? Because they don’t have time for people living in Ivory Towers. This town deserves more representation on the ground.
“I really, really care about the community, it looks like the community really likes me back.”
During the heated extraordinary general meeting of the council last night, the Mayor entered the chamber in official garments at the start of the meeting before declaring an interest in the agenda item and leaving again, with Deputy Mayor Coun Barrie Pierpoint taking the role of chairman.
One by one councillors then laid out their reasons for supporting the motion with many claiming that Mr Rush’s posts had been political - the constitution calls on mayors to be non-political.
Coun David Brown said the councillors were ‘damned if we do and damned if we don’t’ as he supported the agenda item.
Coun Michael Cooper, the council leader, concluded the agenda by saying: “He has broken the code of conduct. He has been political when he shouldn’t have been - it’s as simple as that.”
Others criticised the Mayor’s defence to the BBC that they themselves had been unwilling to meet with the Muslim community. Councillors said this was ‘untrue’.
There were calls of displeasure from the public gallery as the meeting wore on, with Coun Pierpoint several times asking audience members to be quiet.
The evening also saw Coun Pier point launch a scathing offensive at the councillors when he said the situation could have been handled differently - including with a private meeting.
He also used the moment to announce his resignation from the Independent Group on Boston Borough Council.
However councillors were convinced the Mayor had failed to be non-political in his role and voted to call for him to step down and for administrative support to be withdrawn if he did not.
A total of 21 councillors voted in favour of the motion with two voting against and one abstaining.
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