THE future of a North East councillor hangs in the balance after an ongoing investigation to determine whether he can remain in the political party – following a court appearance where he was convicted of assaulting his wife.

Cllr Gordon Cranney, who represents the Seaton ward at Hartlepool Borough Council, courted controversy during the polling day of local government elections last Thursday (May 5) – when news broke of a court appearance seven days previous.

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, believed to be his wife, by “beating her”.

Read more: Confusion over 'resignation' of Hartlepool councillor who admitted assault charges

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.

Despite this conviction, he was allowed to run in Thursday’s election, and managed to win re-election in the Seaton ward, with the councillor choosing not to attend the election count in the early hours of Friday (May 6) morning.

Following on from his election win, Cllr Cranney seemingly resigned from the Conservative party via social media, by saying: “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,” as well as the Hartlepool Conservatives also confirming his departure online.

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

However, 24 hours on from both of those statement, Cllr Cranney had U-turned on that resignation – forcing Hartlepool Conservatives to issue an open letter urging its councillors to boycott meetings until Cllr Cranney resigns or is removed from his duties.

In the most recent development, the local Conservative branch have confirmed that an initial investigation has finished, and it will be transferred to the Hartlepool Executive Committee for their judgement.

Posting on their social media page yesterday (May 9) evening, a spokesperson for Hartlepool Conservatives said: “Hartlepool Conservatives can confirm we have completed our initial investigation into Gordon Cranney.

The Northern Echo: The Conservative Party in Hartlepool have investigated the issue and are now referring it to the council's executive committee. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.The Conservative Party in Hartlepool have investigated the issue and are now referring it to the council's executive committee. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

“The findings will now be passed to a meeting of the Hartlepool Executive Committee, which will take place in line with Conservative Party Rules.

“Until the outcome of the Executive Committee, Gordon Cranney remains suspended and will not join the Conservative Group on Hartlepool Borough Council.”

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