CONFUSION over the future of a North East Conservative councillor has built after he ‘seemingly’ resigned over pleading guilty for assault – only to make an apparent U-turn less than 24 hours later.

Cllr Gordon Cranney, who represented the Seaton ward for Hartlepool Borough Council, was officially re-elected as a council representative on Friday (May 6).

However, this was overshadowed by the fact that news broke of a court appearance for assault by beating just before the results were confirmed.

Read more: Hartlepool Tory councillor resigns after assault charge comes to light

The appearance at Teesside Magistrates' Court on April 28 related to an incident on February 6 of this year in Hartlepool that is alleged to have involved Mr Cranney “assaulting” a woman, reported to be his wife, by “beating her”, according to documents.

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.

In the aftermath of the court revelations, an announcement from both Mr Cranney and the Hartlepool Conservative Party today (May 8) ‘seemingly’ confirmed his departure from the political party.

The Northern Echo: Cllr Gordon Cranney. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.Cllr Gordon Cranney. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

Taking to social media Hartlepool Conservative Party posted the statement: “Hartlepool Conservatives confirm that former Councillor, Gordon Cranney has today resigned his position.

“We will be selecting a candidate to fight the upcoming By-election in the Seaton Ward in the coming weeks.”

Mr Cranney backed this up with his own statement that was circulated on other people's social media pages, which stated: "As many people will have seen reported on Thursday of last week, I pleaded guilty to common assault (I grabbed my wife's cheeks).

"I would give anything to turn back the clock, to say I am genuinely sorry for my actions does not begin to convey my regrets.

The Northern Echo: Hartlepool Borough Council. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.Hartlepool Borough Council. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

"My wife has stood by me, and I will never be able to repay her compassion.

"I can confirm that Hartlepool Conservatives did not know anything about this until the polling began, I apologise for any embarrassment I have caused the party.

"I am formally resigning as a councillor to spend time with my wife and family."

While the departure from Cllr Cranney seemed all but confirmed, a letter from the Hartlepool Conservative party 45 minutes ago suggests that the councillor has ‘back-tracked’ on his earlier resignation.

The Northern Echo: A letter published on the Hartlepool Conservatives page this morning.A letter published on the Hartlepool Conservatives page this morning.

In the letter, Cllr Mike Young, who is the group leader of Hartlepool Conservatives, said: “Unfortunately, we have found ourselves in the position whereby Councillor Gordon Cranney has offered his resignation online through social media, but then last night and today, gone back on that position.

“This is therefore an open letter to say that no sitting Conservative councillor will be attending the AGM of council nor any other meeting whilst Gordon Cranney remains a councillor.

“We would ask all other councillors to follow our lead and sign/support this open letter.”

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