Northern Ireland news

UUP councillor Jim Rodgers summoned to hearing with the Local Government Commissioner for Standards in Northern Ireland

UUP councillor Jim Rodgers as police and contractors moved into Cluan Place in east Belfast to remove a loyalist bonfire last month
By Rebecca Black, Press Association

An Ulster Unionist representative on Belfast City Council is set to be summoned to a hearing with the Local Government Commissioner for Standards in Northern Ireland.

Marie Anderson's office made the announcement on Friday morning as Jim Rodgers faced a vote of no confidence in his chairmanship of the council's Strategic Policy and Resources (SPR) Committee.

The date and time of the hearing has not yet been confirmed.

It is understood the two matters are separate issues.

Mr Rodgers has declined to comment on either matter.

The motion of no confidence at the SPR committee was carried with the support of the Alliance Party and Sinn Féin.

UUP and DUP members of the committee voted against it.

It was proposed by Alliance councillor Michael Long.

Mr Long said he made the proposal over two issues during a period of disagreement over bonfires in east Belfast in July.

There were rows over the height of a bonfire on the Bloomfield Walkway site in the run-up to July 11.

Belfast City Council took a high court action against the Department for Infrastructure, which owns the land, to compel it to remove the pyre.

However, amid tense scenes, bonfire builders set it alight before police and contractors could move in to remove it.

Later, another bonfire at nearby Cluan Place was removed by contractors with police protection.

Mr Long has claimed that during that period, Mr Rodgers made "negative comments" in media interviews about council staff.

He also raised an issue over the calling of meetings of the committee in that same period.

Mr Rodgers remains as chair of the committee and the vote at the committee will face ratification at the next full meeting of the council on September 3.

A spokeswoman for Belfast City Council said: "All committee decisions have to be ratified by full council and we do not comment ahead of this."

Earlier on Friday, the Local Government Commissioner for Standards in Northern Ireland announced it will hold a hearing into a complaint against Mr Rodgers.

"The commissioner has announced her intention to hold an adjudication hearing into a complaint that Alderman Jim Rodgers breached the code in relation to the rule regarding the registration, disclosure and declaration of interests," the commissioner's office said in a tweet.

A spokesman for the commissioner confirmed it had received a complaint about Mr Rodgers but could not give any further detail.

Mr Rodgers has been elected to Belfast City Council since 1993 and has twice served as lord mayor.

He was awarded an OBE for public service in the 2002 new year's honours list.

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