Cllr. Theobald with David Cameron, Leader of the Conservative Party, during a tour of regeneration work in Gainsborough. Between Mr. Cameron and Cllr. Theobald, in the rear, can be seen Cllr. Mrs. Meg Davidson.
In a statement Cllr. Theobald said:
"On Tuesday of this week a report appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo under the heading, 'Revealed: The Truth Behind Planning Outcry' claiming that a planning application submitted by me has resulted in an officer's suspension and investigation by the Audit Commission.Cllr. Burt Keimach, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward), said:
"This report is wholly unfounded and has been passed to my lawyers.
"However, I am of the opinion that the aspersions cast on my reputation and integrity in that report make my position as council leader untenable until these accusations can be properly revoked.
"This report not only harms me but I believe, serves to bring the council and my colleagues into disrepute.
"I have therefore, with the greatest regret, decided to stand down from my position of leader of the council whilst challenging the accuracy and facts in this newspaper report."
"There is unease in the council about the political situation. Some councillors are not happy with the style of his leadership.Cllr. Mrs. Meg Davidson, Conservative (Fiskerton Ward), said:
"The resignation will help us get our house in order. The question is do we clean the house completely in terms of leadership and committee heads or let some remain?"
"I think he has done the right thing to step aside while all these things are looked into."Cllr. Lewis Strange, Conservative (Kelsey Ward), said:
"I think it is all very sad for everybody concerned. Cllr. Theobald did many great things for West Lindsey and I can not comment further until I see the outcome of the Audit Commission [Report]."
Cllr. Kristan Smith, Liberal Democrat (Gainsborough East Ward), has said:
"The crux of the matter is that the Leader has lost the confidence of the
councillors, the public and the officers."
Former Labour County Councillor Mr. Phil Dilks said:
"I'm fairly certain that if Bernard Theobald were a Labour Leader forced out of office in similar circumstances, it would have been all over the Daily Mail and other choice publications by now."Cllr. Theobald's membership of the Gainsborough Constituency Conservative Association has been suspended pending approval of the Association's Executive. It is understood that Deputy Leader of the Council Cllr. Adam Duguid, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward), is expected to take the role of acting leader until the next full council meeting.