THE deputy leaders of Croydon's Conservatives are seeking an urgent party meeting, as pressure grows on Mike Fisher for accepting an 18 per cent pay rise.
Dudley Mead and Tim Pollard have this morning (Thursday) released a joint statement, in which they confirm they had no knowledge of Cllr Fisher making a claim for a pay increase before May's elections.
The statement reads: "Following the outcome of the local election held earlier this year, Cllr Fisher informed his former cabinet colleagues that he believed it was possible for any cabinet member serving between 2010 and May 2014 to claim some of the money they had voluntarily not taken whilst in office, if they individually wished to do so. It is a matter of public record that no other member of the cabinet 2010-14 is pursuing such a claim or received any additional money.
"Whilst senior colleagues were aware that Cllr Fisher believed the possibility existed and that he intended to pursue it, they were not aware that Cllr Fisher had, in fact, already made such a claim pre-election.
"Whilst it is quite clear that the actions of Councillor Fisher are not in any way illegal, it is also clear that there is, quite rightly, significant public interest in this matter. It would be wrong for the Conservative Group to comment further until it has been possible to ascertain the full facts and give Cllr Fisher the opportunity to explain his actions. As the two deputy leaders of the Conservative Group, we are seeking an urgent Group Meeting to discuss this matter and will make no further statement until this has been achieved."
Meanwhile, other prominent Croydon Tories have come out to express disappointment at their leader's decision to accept a £10,000 pay increase.
Cllr Jason Cummings, who was appointed shadow cabinet member for safety and justice after May's elections, said: "I accept he has not broken any laws and it was something he was entitled to do, but it was a poor decision."
And Councillor Maria Gatland, who joined the shadow cabinet after the election, said: "Anything to do with councillors' allowances has to be open and transparent and I am disappointed that this wasn't. I knew nothing about it."