A COUNCIL has confirmed the expulsion of a councillor for not attending meetings.

Earlier this month, Durham County councillor Keith Murray-Hetherington, Labour member for Stanley, fell foul of the law requiring attendance of at least one meeting in six months.

His automatic disqualification was subject to him being able to prove that he been at a meeting in that time.

The Labour-run authority wrote to him, giving him a chance to respond, but has heard nothing.

In a letter to councillors, corporate and legal services director Andrew North said: "He was given an opportunity to provide evidence of his attendance at such meetings, but no further contact has been received from him.

"In the circumstances, his council membership has ceased with effect from May 6, and steps will now be taken to declare a vacancy for his electoral division and thereafter call a by-election."

Mr Murray-Hetherington, a county councillor since 1997, has attended eight meetings in the past two years.

He was also chairman of Derwentside Primary Care Trust, but resigned from that post.

In the early 1990s, he was the youngest chairman of Derwentside District Council.

He declined to comment when his expulsion was proposed earlier this month.