Former Cheshire East leader Michael Jones is to quit as a councillor once the police probe into the awarding of council contracts has ended.

The investigation, which began in January, centres around the awarding of council contracts worth more than £150,000 to Nantwich-based Core Fit, which is run by Cllr Jones’ physio, Amanda Morris.

Cllr Jones strenuously denies any wrongdoing.

RELATED STORY: Cheshire East contract awards to be investigated by police

He stood down as council leader at the end of February citing infighting in the Conservative Party as the reason, but speculation has been rife over whether he would resign as a Bunbury councillor.

Cllr Jones' statement

On Tuesday (May 10) Cllr Jones said: “I will resign once the [police] investigation is over and call a by-election once I have spoken to my party and the new leader.”

He said Cllr Rachel Bailey had his full support as leader ‘and is undoubtedly the right person to lead the council’.

RELATED STORY: Cheshire East Council leader quits over claims of political infighting

“Rachel is fully aware of my decision, as was the deputy leader [David Brown] in September 2015,” said Cllr Jones. “Perhaps the fact I have kept to my decision is the point that I am not a career politician merely someone who tried hard to deliver for the residents across the borough.”

And he said he always intended to step down as leader after May this year ‘as four years would have been enough’.

Council meeting

“In fact I made that position known to several council members, along with the fact that I was not going to attend the December council meeting, in September 2015,” he said.

Cllr Jones said he became a councillor ‘to change Cheshire East Council, and I think now I have achieved many great things including unemployment at a 35 year low and incomes rising fastest for the poorest elements of society’.

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“I am clear that I prioritised the residents and my colleagues and as a business man I was tough on the senior management of the council, but I believe the residents deserve efficiency and of course low council tax,” he said.

Cllr Jones said he will focus on working in the private sector.

“I will continue to defend vulnerable children and I am hopeful of playing an active role in making sure children have a better, safer and rewarding future,” he said. “I believe once I am out of politics shortly, I will develop private sector financial initiatives to fund work with young children and I intend to support a variety of innovations to make their lives better.”