Ex-planning committee chair resigns as councillor after hospitality probe

The former chair of Westminster City Council’s planning sub-committee has resigned as a councillor after a probe into his acceptance of hospitality.

An inquiry found Robert Davis registered gifts and hospitality and their acceptance was not unlawful but “it also does not rule out a conclusion that he has placed himself in a position where people might seek to influence him in the performance of his duties”.

The investigation report concluded: “By accepting the large scale of gifts and hospitality Cllr Davis has not promoted and supported high standards of conduct through leadership and by example. …His conduct has attracted media and public attention which has an impact of the council as a whole.”

Mr Davis referred himself to Westminster’s monitoring officer after press articles last spring about his acceptance of 530 cases of gifts and hospitality since 2015.

The report found that in 41 cases where the planning sub-committee overturned officers’ advice and instead approved applications six of the applicants, agents or individuals involved had provided Mr Davis with gifts or hospitality; 5 of these came either before or shortly after the sub-committee granted consent.