Auditor seizes files at flagship council

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Indy Politics
THE District Auditor seized thousands of Westminster City Council documents during an early morning raid on City Hall, Westminster, London, yesterday.

The files were locked away pending investigations of new allegations of more extensive gerrymandering at the Conservative-controlled flagship authority.

John Magill, senior partner at Touche Ross, the accountancy firm, and four other colleagues went into City Hall in Victoria Street, Westminster, and, with the agreement of Bill Roots, the council's acting managing director, placed 'lots of papers' in a locked room in the building.

In January, Mr Magill published a provisional report accusing Dame Shirley Porter, the council's former leader, and nine other councillors and officials of 'improper and disgraceful' gerrymandering over the council's designated council house sales policy in politically marginal wards.

Yesterday's raid followed new allegations from a group of Westminster residents that the council's alleged policy of trying to build up the conservative vote in marginal wards went beyond selling council houses to private owners to include land disposals, planning decisions and targeting council resources on the marginal wards.

Mr Magill issued a statement saying that his priority was to complete his investigation into Westminster council's designated council house sales policy, but that he would at some later stage investigate the new complaints relating to the council's Building Stable Communities Policy.

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