Finnegan resigns as Liverpool City Council media chief

A former Manchester Evening News journalist who was suspended in April from his role as media chief at Liverpool City Council has resigned, accusing the council of running a "kangaroo court".

Matt Finnegan was to face a disciplinary hearing this month, following his suspension by the council's former chief executive Sir David Henshaw for making public criticisms by council leader Mike Storey of Henshaw's pension deal.

He was suspended for "alleged procurement irregularities". Storey resigned earlier this year after an inquiry by the Standards Board for England found him guilty of misconduct.

Finnegan, who was banned from contacting councillors, colleagues and members of the press, and from visiting the council premises, said his suspension had been at a "disgraceful cost to the council taxpayers of Liverpool".

He filed 40 separate grievances about his treatment, of which only two relating to pay were upheld.

Finnegan said the council had denied him legal representation and ignored the NUJ's recommendation that his meeting be held in public.

In his letter of resignation Finnegan said: "The council's disciplinary hearing has no more integrity than the proverbial ‘kangaroo court'. I was suspended after obeying the wishes of the elected Leader of the Council. I did my job in making clear his opposition to a lucrative pension deal for the retiring chief executive, Sir David Henshaw. I was then removed from office on charges without any foundation whatsoever.

"My only ‘offence' was to obey democracy. For that, I have been subjected to a campaign of appalling victimisation."

Liverpool City Council said it would not comment on matters relating to individuals.

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