One of Thetford’s newly-elected councillors is considering his future after revelations about his prior conduct, according to his party leader.
Toby Coke, leader of the Norfolk County Council UKIP group, said Peter Georgiou, councillor for Thetford West, was ‘thinking about’ resigning after he admitted being arrested for alleged theft and paying HMRC £4,000 in unpaid duty last year.
He was also banned from the Thetford branch of Poundstretcher after the alleged shoplifting incident was settled by way of community resolution.
“I’ve spoken to him as have others and he’s got to make a personal decision over the next few days. We’ll back whatever he decides,” he said.
Cllr Coke said Cllr Georgiou had ‘made a huge error of judgment’, in relation to the HMRC visit.
“He bitterly regrets it but it’s not the end of the world.
“He paid his dues and that was the end of the matter, but in no way do we condone it,” he said.
If Cllr Georgiou were to step down, it would spark a by-election that could have wider implications for the county council.
His win in the May 2 elections meant that UKIP took 15 seats on the council to Labour’s 14, making them the party of opposition.
The win saw Cllr Georgiou beat his Labour counterpart, Terry Jermy, by just one vote.
Stan Hebborn, the UKIP group’s deputy leader, said the party would stand by Cllr Georgiou as his actions were not criminal.
“The fact remains that he stood as a candidate for Thetford as a candidate with a clean record.
“We are aware he may have made some mistakes that have been dealt with.
“We would not want anyone to be involved in the party who has knowingly been dishonest but we do not want to judge anyone, absent the full facts,” he said.
The Free Press contacted Cllr Georgiou, but he refused to comment.