Dorset County Council leader Spencer Flower quits ahead of trial

Councillor Spencer Flower
Image caption Councillor Spencer Flower denies three charges under the Localism Act 2011

The leader of Dorset County Council has stood down ahead of a trial in which he is accused of failing to declare interests in housing companies.

Conservative councillor Spencer Flower, of Verwood, Dorset, has denied three charges under the Localism Act 2011.

The 72-year-old did not attend a hearing at Bournemouth Magistrates' Court earlier but not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf.

The council confirmed he had stepped down as leader with immediate effect.

He is due to appear at Bournemouth Magistrates' Court again at the same court on 24 April.

Mr Flower is accused of failing to disclose he was a non-executive director for Zebra Property Solutions Ltd to East Dorset District Council and to the county council.

He had temporarily stood aside from his role as council leader and was replaced in the interim by deputy leader Robert Gould.

A meeting of the full council is being held on Wednesday to decide on a permanent successor.

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