'I will not resign,' says councillor who broke Covid isolation

Lindsay Beech, Swaffham Town Councillor. Picture: Danielle Booden

Lindsay Beech, Swaffham Town Councillor. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant

A town councillor who admitted to breaking coronavirus rules by visiting a high street following a positive test has refused to resign – despite calls do so by several members of the public.

Swaffham town councillor Lindsay Beech was spoken to by police after she admitted to breaking her coronavirus isolation by walking around Swaffham town centre.

Swaffham High Street Heritage Action Zone - The Buttercross in SwaffhamImage: Breckland District Cou

Swaffham High Street Heritage Action Zone - The Buttercross in SwaffhamImage: Breckland District Council - Credit: Archant

The independent councillor released a statement on January 7 apologising to residents and saying that she "thought she could exercise once a day while in isolation".

At a Swaffham Town Council meeting held over Zoom on January 13, 2021, the ex-Conservative councillor apologised to her colleagues before stating she would not resign.

She said: "Following this breach our mayor contacted me promptly and advised me to phone the police to inform them what had happened, and I did this immediately.

"Police said they would record the incident and would probably send an officer around to discuss the details and that I would probably be cautioned or fined. I haven't met with the police yet.

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"I take full responsibility for my actions, being the catalyst for this behaviour, I'm so sorry for that and the time and effort is has wasted.

"I am only human."

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Some 73 people were present in the meeting when councillors discussed the breach of restrictions and each town council member gave their opinion on the matter.

Many of her fellow councillors spoke of their disappointment and said how Mrs Beech had "let down" residents.

Swaffham Mayor, Jill Skinner, said: "I condemn this action and would like her referred to the monitoring officer, but also I would like to hear the result of the police investigation."

Town councillor Graham Edwards said: "I do not know how that person can sit on the council a minute longer, for the arrogance she has demonstrated and the defiance she has demonstrated.

"This is not a simple mistake, this is a major failure of adherence to the rules."

Eight councillors voted to refer Mrs Beech to the monitoring officer at Breckland Council, while Les Scott and Wendy Bensley abstained.

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