THE mayor of Middlesbrough has issued another statement responding to a series of explosive allegations made yesterday.

Middlesbrough Council was thrown into disarray yesterday after five executive members resigned, after publishing a letter detailing a number of allegations about mayor Andy Preston.

Mr Preston has refuted all of the claims, describing them as "completely untrue".

This morning, he issued a second statement

In today's statement he said: "Yesterday some complete lies were written and shared.

"It’s completely wrong that I have to respond to allegations put forward without evidence - but I will respond because I’ve got nothing to hide and I’m shocked and hurt by these unnecessary slurs

"To put the record categorically straight I will deal with these slurs one by one."

He went on to respond to the claim he had “incurred costs to the public purse exceeding £600k without executive or senior officer approval or formal decision making processes".

He said: "I didn’t incur any costs. This is an old story originally put out by Andy McDonald. Any money spent was committed by senior council officers on the early stage architectural work of a £30m project.

"Two very senior officers and I attended regular meetings with the architect about the £30m scheme. I completely agreed with the council staff’s expenditure decisions.

"Antony High and all of the executive team explicitly and happily approved expenditure of up to £30m at a minuted meeting on 17th March 2020."

The response came after the letter from deputy mayor Antony High and four other members of the executive Dennis McCabe, Ashley Waters, Dorothy Davison and Chris Hobson.

It said: "It is collectively agreed that we can no longer support you in the mayoral position due to your consistent poor conduct and behaviour

"We have lost all confidence in your ability to lead the town forward as elected mayor."

The council's one remaining executive councillor, Conservative Mieka Smiles has also said she will resign unless Mr Preston provides a "rapid and credible" explanation.

Councillors have said they will force a no confidence vote in Mr Preston if he does not resign.

A meeting of the executive was due to take place yesterday but was adjourned when Mr Preston was the only member to attend.