A Sheffield councillor whose company is linked to an escorts business has been removed from the council’s licensing committee after questions were raised about his involvement.
Councillor Neale Gibson, Labour representative of Walkley ward, is the director of Mowbray Accounting, which is the secretary of a business called Escorts R Us and 150 other organisations.
The business was set up in 2016 but Coun Neale’s connection has not been made public until now, as it is not required by councillors.
It was initially thought his involvement was about more than just administration and as a result was taken off licensing duties.
But following an investigation by Sheffield City Council, it was found Coun Gibson was not guilty of wrongdoing.
Despite this, the Labour group decided to stand by their decision to remove him but are now looking to reinstate him at a later date.
A Labour representative said: “The initial legal advice was based on a description that councillor Gibson’s involvement was more than just his firm acting as accountant and that the company was engaged in a broader range of activities.
“The decision around removal from the licensing committee was based on that advice.
“However these allegations proved to be completely unfounded and based on current information, there is no procedural requirement for councillor Gibson to stand aside. We continued with the decision to ensure that not only do we have complete impartiality but also the perception of complete impartiality during this period. This does not reflect on the professionalism of the councillor in question or any of their actions.”
Coun Gibson said he has always tried to keep his business separate from his council work.
He added: “I would like to set the record straight in connection to the allegations that I am connected to an escort company.
“As the company secretary our sole obligation is to ensure the Ltd company is run legally and complies with the requirements of Companies House and the current Limited Company legislation, we have no other involvement with the company nor any financial involvement. I certainly have no personal involvement with the company.
“I don’t even deal with this company within Mowbray Accounting, one of my staff looks after them.
“I have always ensured that any financial or business involvements I have are declared on my members declaration of interest.
“I have no connection with the director or shareholders of Escorts R Us Limited.”