POLITICAL rivals have again called on a disgraced councillor to resign following his conviction for misconduct in a public office.

Middlesbrough councillor Jon Rathmell was sentenced to a conditional discharge this morning after he pleaded guilty to the charge when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court.

The offence related to an “abuse of public trust” in public office linked to Nunthorpe Community Council in 2018 and 2019.

The misrepresentation of emails and a misrepresented and delayed payment of £1,500 for fireworks were part of the charge.

The conviction and sentence does not automatically bar Cllr Rathmell from retaining his role on Middlesbrough Council.

The Northern Echo: Cllr Jon RathmellCllr Jon Rathmell

Now Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Simon Clarke and Middlesbrough Council's conservative member for Nunthorpe, Cllr Mieka Smiles, have again called on him to resign.

Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said: "This has been a desperately disappointing episode for the people of Nunthorpe.

"Jon Rathmell has now been sentenced having pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office.

"While this sentence does not automatically disqualify him from holding office, it is clear that he is not a fit and proper person to sit as a councillor.

"He should do the right thing and resign so that Nunthorpe residents can select a new representative as soon as possible.”

And Mieka Smiles, Conservative councillor for Nunthorpe and executive member for communities and education on Middlesbrough Council, added: "I’m relieved for those Nunthorpe residents innocently caught up in this sorry case that it has today finally come to a conclusion.

“Jon Rathmell was a trusted member of this community and his lies have caused much anguish amongst its members.

“I once again call for Cllr Rathmell to do the decent thing and stand down so that Nunthorpe residents can elect a new representative.”