DRIFFIELD’S mayor is to stand trial in court accused of kerb-crawling.
Coun Paul Rounding, of The Horseshoe, Driffield, has been charged with attempting to pick up a prostitute in St Luke’s Street, Hull, on Wednesday, October 27, last year.
He pleaded not guilty when he appeared at Hull Magistrates’ Court and was released on bail to stand trial at the same court on March 14.
Despite the case, Coun Rounding has said he will not stand down as the civic dignitary nor as a member of the local authority.
He offered to step aside during the annual meeting of the Driffield Labour Party this week but he said his colleagues gave him their backing and said they wanted him to stay.
“I am happy to continue, I want to continue and they want me to continue,” he told the Driffield Post in an emotion-charged exclusive interview yesterday.
His wife Lynn and his family are also standing behind him 100% in his fight to clear his name.
He said that stepping down from his role as mayor and as a councillor at the present time would be akin to admitting guilt.
“British law is that I am innocent until proven guilty,” said Coun Rounding. “When the court case comes I feel confident that I will be clearing my name.
Coun Rounding, who works for an electricity company, said he had also won the support of colleagues but said the stress had taken a heavy toll.
“I have never been in a situation like this. It has been a very hard time and I have not had much sleep. I have been trying to hold it together and work as a councillor.”
News broke that he was being prosecuted for the alleged kerb-crawling offence just days after he became embroiled in controversy over spending hundreds of pounds of public money on a professional photo shoot at his home.
A statement issued by the town council said: “The matter concerning the allegation made against the town mayor is an ongoing police investigation and Driffield Town Council cannot comment on that.”
Mr Rounding, 55, whose wife Lynn is his mayoral consort, has been a town councillor for nearly 25 years and is in his third term as mayor.