A COUNCILLOR who is still being investigated by police over an alleged assault at a cops and robbers-themed ball was voted in as mayor of Darlington last night.
Despite heated exchanges in a council meeting last week over whether the long-serving Labour councillor should be voted in as this year’s mayor, no mention was made at all about the investigation at last night’s ceremony.
But the alleged victim of her assault, independent councillor Kevin Nicholson, was not present at the council’s Annual General Meeting, which sees the new mayor voted in and assume her chains of office.
The three Liberal Democrat councillors on the authority boycotted the meeting as a protest, and there were apologies from about half a dozen other opposition councillors.
Cllr Taylor is being investigated by both Durham Police and Darlington Borough Council over claims she struck Cllr Nicholson at the annual Mayor’s ball last month.
It has emerged that she has admitted swearing at a councillor, but she denies assault.
At the meeting last night her appointment was proposed by friend and fellow Labour councillor Wendy Newall, who spoke in glowing terms about her friend and her dedication to her family, her ability to organise events, as well as her love of Sudoku.
“Jan was born in Darlington and cares very deeply about the decisions made in this council chamber,” she said.
Her appointment was seconded by outgoing mayor Brian Jones.
Former nurse Cllr Taylor first served on the council in 1987, when she was elected to represent the Bank Top ward. She now represents the newly-created Stevenson ward.
Last week leader of the Conservatives on the council, Heather Scott, said that if Cllr Taylor became mayor it would bring both the office and the town into disrepute, following her behaviour at the ball.
But council leader Bill Dixon said Cllr Taylor had his “full backing” and accused opponents of using the council meeting to score cheap political points.
Liberal Democrat councillor, and the party’s Parliamentary candidate for Darlington Anne-Marie Curry told The Northern Echo last night that she and two fellow councillors had boycotted the meeting, and said: “I believe that because she is under investigation she should not take the role of mayor on. “I think she should have been asked to step down until the investigation is completed.
“Then, if she is cleared, she could take on the role.”