MORE than £84,000 was spent on a standards investigation into a senior councillor who was cleared of a host of allegations at a hearing last week.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Keith Aspden said the two year fight to clear his name, after accusations that he brought hard copies of job applications into a pub and had a close connection with a candidate, had been “hugely distressing”.

A report says the committee had concerns about job applications being discussed in a pub and concluded that this was a breach of the code of conduct.

But they decided that paper copies of the applications were not taken into the pub and that Cllr Aspden did not, at the time of the appointment process, have a close association with the successful candidate.

He was also cleared of five other allegations before the hearing.

City of York Council has now confirmed that £41,415 was spent on a whistleblowing investigation and £43,100 has been spent to date on a further report, as well as an investigation for a separate standards case.

A spokesman for the council said: “We had a legal duty to investigate a whistleblowing allegation. This whistleblowing investigation concluded in July 2017. The standards committee decided this matter needed further investigation which resulted in the hearing on January 3, 2019.

“We accept this has been an extremely complex and sensitive matter and we appreciate that this has been difficult for all involved. We are considering any matters that arise from the Joint Standards Committee recommendations and will make any necessary changes and improvements.”

The spokesman added that during the hearing a private document was shown on social media and the authority is now investigating the matter.

The committee concluded forms were not taken to the pub, Cllr Aspden did not improperly use his position to obtain an advantage for the candidate and did not bring the council into disrepute. No sanctions were imposed on Cllr Aspden.

The committee’s decision notice says: “The negative impact on the reputation of the council is rather created through the management of the allegations and the investigation than by Councillor Aspden’s actions in the first place."