CHESHIRE East Council chief executive Mike Suarez has been suspended while an independent investigation is launched into 'officer conduct'.

The council's investigation and disciplinary committee has taken the decision following a two-day hearing at Macclesfield Town Hall.

Cllr Howard Murray, chairman of the committee, said: “We would stress that suspension is a neutral act taken in the interests of both the council and chief executive.

“It is important that this investigation is undertaken objectively and therefore it would be inappropriate to make any further comment at this stage.”

The council has not revealed the details of any allegations made against Mr Suarez.

Ahead of the meeting, which began on Monday, a CEC spokesman said: “We can confirm that potential concerns have been raised about officer conduct.

“Initial enquiries have been undertaken and the matter is now to be considered by our Investigations and Disciplinary Committee who will make recommendations as to what, if any, action needs to be taken.

“We would stress that the fact we have arranged for an Investigations and Disciplinary Committee to be convened does not imply any wrong doing. It is a routine step to take in these circumstances.

“It is important that the committee are able to make an objective decision on the matters that are put to them and therefore we are not able to make any further comment at this stage.”

An independent legal adviser was present at the meeting, while the press and public were excluded.

The ‘politically balanced’ committee, whose scope is ‘to consider allegations/issues regarding disciplinary matters’, is comprised of a seven members, one of which is a cabinet representative.

Cllr Ainsley Arnold (Con), cabinet member for housing and planning, sits alongside Cllrs Barry Burkhill (Ind), Rod Fletcher (Lib Dem), Janet Jackson (Lab), Barry Moran (Con), Margaret Simon (Con), and committee chairman Cllr Howard Murray (Con).