Investigation into UKIP row

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A formal complaint has been lodged against two high-ranking council officers, amid claims a school governor was forced to step down for joining UKIP.

Whitby ward councillor Mike Ward claims he can’t carry on as chairman of governors at Eskdale School because headteacher Sue Whelan allegedly demanded he step down after jumping ship to the right-wing party.

North Yorkshire County Council is now probing a complaint relating to the scandal.

A spokesperson for the authority said: “North Yorkshire County Council has received a complaint and is looking into the issues surrounding the resignation of the chair of governors at 
Eskdale school, in accordance with the authority’s complaints procedures.”

It’s understood the allegations around Cllr Ward’s departure from the school are to be heard by a council committee, made up of Tory councillors along with a Lib Dem. However, UKIP sources say they fear any investigation will be a “whitewash”.

And the authority has already distanced itself from any investigation into Cllr Ward’s departure from the school, insisting that will be subject to an “internal” school investigation.

After the allegations came to light, the council insisted Eskdale was taking Cllr Ward’s 
allegations “seriously”.

However, the situation has ruffled UKIP feathers, with party top brass joining the debate over the former teacher’s status at the school – despite Cllr Ward claiming he just wanted to put children’s futures first.

Deputy UKIP leader Paul Nutall branded it an “outrage”. “It’s totally unacceptable membership of UKIP should be considered incompatible with being a governor.”