Tory councillor is slammed for performing senior role from Panama 5,000 miles away where he plans to set up home
- Andrew Atkinson is the lead member for Wrexham Council’s children’s services
- But he has been performing his duties from 5,000 miles away in Panama
- The long-distance working arrangement has been savaged by critics
A Tory councillor who is the lead member for his area’s children’s services has been slated for performing his role remotely – from over 5,000 miles away in Panama.
Andrew Atkinson has been attending Wrexham Council meetings from Central America, where he plans to live.
He is understood to have told authorities he and his family are on a ‘working holiday’ there.
It comes as the local authority’s children’s service department is under the microscope from Care Inspectorate Wales.
The watchdog identified ‘significant concerns’ within the organisation last September.
Former Plaid Cymru Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales Arfon Jones hit out at the long-distance job.
Andrew Atkinson has been attending Wrexham Council meetings from Central America
He has been performing his role from over 5,000 miles away in picturesque Panama
He said online: ‘I was lead member for children’s social care at Wrexham Council from 2008/12.
‘I considered it a full time job even though it wasn’t in special measures them.
‘Now it’s in special measures Hugh Jones (Conservative group leader) should appoint a new lead member who can give the scrutiny required to this important service.’
Cllr Atkinson has attempted to be elected as an MP in 2015 and 2017 but was beaten both times by the Labour candidate.
He has posted on the Gresford News Facebook page: ‘As a family we’ve made the decision to emigrate, the plan is to move next year so I wanted to let you know clearly that I definitely won’t be seeking re-election.
‘If anything changes on this holiday and it looks like it would make more sense to stay on then I will let you know straight away and would then have to resign as your councillor.
Prime Minister Theresa May greeting once Tory candidate for Wrexham Andrew Atkinson
‘It’s been an honour to serve as councillor for Gresford and 99 per cent of you have been absolutely amazing.
‘Not standing again has not been an easy decision but I hope it’s one you can support me with.’
His decision to work from abroad has been praised by the Wrexham Conservative Association, The Leader reports.
Chair Jeremy Kent said: ‘Andrew is a hard working and committed councillor and serves Wrexham with distinction.
‘It is a credit to him that he would continue to carry out council work whilst enjoying some time away with his family.
‘Obviously, if things were to become more permanent, then I have faith Andrew will review the situation.’