Dorset

Bournemouth set for new leader after porn inquiry

Councillor Peter Charon
Image caption Mr Charon is expected to become leader at a meeting on Monday

A new Bournemouth council leader is to be announced after the previous leader resigned following an inquiry into pornographic images on his laptop.

Councillor Stephen MacLoughlin faces a public hearing next month over the images, although the council took no further action after its own inquiry.

Councillor Peter Charon was appointed leader of the ruling Conservative party on Friday.

'Repair reputation'

He is expected to be confirmed as council leader at a meeting on Monday.

The appointment is subject to councillors agreeing to suspend usual council procedure, whereby the leader is appointed at the next ordinary council meeting.

In this case that meeting would be on 27 July, but personal commitments mean Mr Charon would be unable to attend.

Image caption Mr MacLoughlin said wanted to "draw a line" under recent events

Mr MacLoughlin said he took the decision to step down to "draw a line" under recent events.

The material was discovered during a routine IT service in December 2008.

The decision to take no further action prompted accusations of double standards, after about 20 employees were sent home "on leave" in March 2009 for sending an explicit joke e-mail about Viagra.

At the time, the council said the procedure for dealing with a council member was different to that for a staff member.

The council said the material accessed on Mr MacLoughlin's laptop contravened its internet policy, but he had cooperated with the internal inquiry and agreed to comply with the council's internet policy in future.

In his resignation statement, Mr McLaughlin said he hoped his resignation would help repair his party's reputation.

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