A NORTH East councillor who is seeking re-election at this year’s local government elections is allowed to battle for his place at tonight’s election count – despite pleading guilty to a charge of assault

Conservative councillor Gordon Cranney, who was elected to Hartlepool Borough Council in the Seaton ward back in 2021, appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, April 28 – facing charges for assault by beating.

The appearance in court related to an incident on February 6 of this year in Hartlepool that is alleged to have involved Mr Cranney “assaulting” a woman by “beating her”, according to documents.

Read more: Elections 2022 LIVE: North East goes to the polls - updates

In court, the Conservative councillor was handed a 24-month community order, referred to a Building Better Relationships programme, as well as having to pay a victim surcharge of £95 and paying costs of £85.

Following on from his court appearance a week ago, Mr Cranney has today (May 5) been able to stand as a candidate at the Hartlepool Borough Council 2022 local election.

Despite calls and questions on social media of why the council hopeful was able to seek re-election, the returning officer for Hartlepool, responsible for overseeing electoral matters, has said the offences do not prevent Mr Cranney from standing for election or acting as a councillor.

Denise McGuckin, the local Returning Officer appointed for the voting area of Hartlepool, said: “I can confirm that I informed the President of the Hartlepool Conservative Party as soon as I became aware of this matter.

The Northern Echo: Mr Cranney with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.Mr Cranney with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

“Hartlepool Borough Council has also made enquiries of the public records held by the court and I can confirm that the offences do not prevent the candidate from standing for election and acting as a Councillor.

“A person is disqualified if they have within five years before the day of election – or since their election – been convicted in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man of any offence and has had passed on them a sentence of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) for a period of not less than three months without the option of a fine.”

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