THE chairman of Welcome to Yorkshire has said he will resign if he is found to have "fallen short of the standards required" following the shock departure of Sir Gary Verity.

Ron McMillan, chairman of the tourism group, also said he did not feel there was a need for a police probe after an investigation into former chief executive Sir Gary's expenses claims and his behaviour towards staff.

It was announced late on Friday night that Sir Gary was no longer in post due to health reasons.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s statement said: “The board has investigated (the allegations) and concluded that Sir Gary made errors of judgement regarding his expenses at a very difficult time for him and his family.

“Sir Gary has agreed to voluntarily reimburse Welcome to Yorkshire for monies owed.

“Welcome to Yorkshire is committed to having a positive working environment and would like to thank all our staff for their continued hard work and dedication and look forward to working with them as the organisation progresses.”

Sir Gary lost his sister in January and had spoken publicly about how much her death had affected him.

Sir Gary was the man who brought the Grand Depart of the Tour de France to Britain in 2014.

Since the Tour visited Yorkshire five years ago, Verity had been the face of the region’s growing association with the sport.

The hugely successful Tour de Yorkshire will be staged for a fifth time in May, and the UCI Road Cycling World Championships will take place in the region in September.

On Tuesday, Mr McMillan responded to calls that he should stand down from the position he has held since 2015 saying: "The board has committed to an independent review which we will hopefully kick-off in the next week or two.

The Northern Echo:

Sir Gary Verity has left Welcome to Yorkshire

"The result of that will have to be considered by the board and if the conclusion of that review is than I have fallen short of the standards required, then I will do the honourable thing and resign."

Mr McMillan, who has overall responsibility for Welcome to Yorkshire, including its staff, said the board did not believe the police needed to be called in.

He said: "The Board don’t believe Sir Gary Verity’s expenses require police investigation.

"During a difficult time for Sir Gary he failed to follow the correct expense procedures.

"We are now getting these policies and procedures independently reviewed.

"Should that review highlight any irregularities which require further investigation, we will inform the appropriate authorities."

Sir Gary was given a final written warning, which expired in December 2017, for his behaviour towards staff.

A spokesperson for Welcome to Yorkshire said: "We can confirm that there were previous allegations with regards to Sir Gary Verity’s behaviour in 2014 and 2016.

"The board took the appropriate disciplinary action on both occasions, including a final written warning, which expired in December 2017, and that he attend behavioural management counselling.

"We are now in the process of having our expense policies and procedures independently reviewed.

"Welcome to Yorkshire has a talented, creative and dedicated team who everyday work incredibly hard for Yorkshire, alongside all of our members and public and private sector partners.

"We are proud to have been a part of the transformation of this county’s profile over the last ten years and want to make sure Yorkshire continues to thrive."