DUP councillor Linda Clarke subject of complaint over ‘alleged conflict of interests’

DUP MLA Trevor Clarke and his wife councillor Linda Clarke
DUP MLA Trevor Clarke and his wife councillor Linda Clarke
Share this article

A complaint against DUP councillor Linda Clarke over “alleged conflicts of interests” regarding her husband’s planning consultancy business is being “assessed” by the local government commissioner for standards.

Linda Clarke’s husband, Trevor Clarke, is a DUP MLA for South Antrim and a partner in planning consultancy firm Versatile Consultancy.

Mrs Clarke was present during at least one meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey council’s planning committee while Mr Clarke addressed councillors.

Both have denied any wrongdoing.

Mrs Clarke said: “I am aware that a complaint has been made and an investigation is taking place. Whilst I believe I followed the code of conduct for councillors, I will await the outcome of the commissioner.”

Meanwhile, the commissioner’s office has also confirmed it received “written notification” about “alleged conflicts of interest issues” within the council’s planning committee as early as 2017.

The spokesperson added: “In line with our policy at the time the complaint was not investigated as the allegations came from an anonymous source. Since that date our approach to dealing with anonymous complaints has been further developed so that each case is considered on its merits. In light of this the deputy commissioner is considering whether these allegations should now be reassessed.

“It would be inappropriate for us to provide an opinion at this stage on whether there is a potential conflict of interest in the case.”