Mayor resigns over 'sexy' comments to 13-year-old girl
The Lord Mayor of Oxford has resigned after allegedly telling a girl of 13 she looked 'sexy'.
Alan Armitage is said to have made his inappropriate comment when the schoolgirl was having her photograph taken with him at an under-13s sports event last year.
The Liberal Democrat married-father-of-three is alleged to have told her 'it's sexy when you bend down like that'.
The Mail reports that Mr Armitage claims he 'may' have said 'best if you stand next to me' and was misheard, however, his council's standards committee ruled last week that it was 'highly probable' he did make an 'inappropriate and disrespectful' comment.
In a meeting held in secret to protect the identity of the schoolgirl, officials ruled that Armitage had brought the office of Lord Mayor and the city council into disrepute. Despite that, beyond being 'censured', Armitage did not face disciplinary action, and was allowed to remain Lord Mayor.
Speaking at the time, Mr Armitage, who is also a county councillor, said he had no intention of resigning.
"My county council position is up for election and I have not yet decided whether to continue and fight it in May," he said. "I have not heard from anyone that I ought to be resigning. I have said all along that I may have said some of the words which are imputed to me but it is not very likely. I have tried to tell the truth."
However, he later emailed his fellow councillors and the Oxford City Council chief executive to step down from his position as Mayor. His local paper reports that it is 'understood that he will not be resigning as a councillor at this time'.
His alleged comments were branded 'absolutely unacceptable' by the chairman of Oxford's Liberal Democrats, Tony De Vere.
"Such behaviour is absolutely unacceptable and this is a matter the Liberal Democrats take extremely seriously," Mr De Vere said. "We have started the process of seeking appropriate disciplinary action."
The reported comments came to light when a parent complained to the girl's school in June last year. The school passed the concerns on to Oxfordshire County Council's child protection team, who concluded Mr Armitage was not a risk to youngsters, but did raise the issue with Oxford City Council to see if its code of conduct had been breached.
Mr Armitage has maintained throughout that he did not make any such statements.