SOUTH Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcolm today faced a call to resign over the Mr Monkey saga.
The demand came from Independent George Elsom, the leader of the council’s political opposition.
He labelled the £214,000 the council spent trying to pursue the internet blogger through the US courts as a “shocking waste of taxpayers’ money”.
And Coun Elsom, who represents Cleadon Park in South Shields, estimates the true cost of the case is “nearer £300,000”.
He also believes Coun Malcolm should take “personal responsibility” for the money spent and time taken on the fruitless legal action – and offer his resignation.
Yesterday, the council announced it was pulling the plug on the action after five years.
Coun Elsom, who has been in dialogue with the local auditor over the Mr Monkey legal action, said: “The amount spent is disgusting and disgraceful at a time when hundreds of council jobs are being lost.
“The cost of this legal action is nearer £300,000 when you add in the time very highly-paid council officers have spent on it. I really think he should go.
“Given his background I had hoped when Coun Malcolm took the leadership he would have the ability to bring the people of South Tyneside together, provide clear leadership and utilise the best brains available, whatever their political persuasions.
“But that has not proved to be the case.”
Coun Elsom also labelled the council’s pursuit of £60,000 in costs against former borough councillor Ahmed Khan, in relation to his failed legal action to blog the Mr Monkey action in the US courts, as a “smokescreen”.
He added: “That is an irrelevance, a smokescreen used to explain away their undemocratic actions.”