Boozy Worthing councillor will stay on

UNDER fire Offington councillor Mark McCarthy has refused to step down before next year's council elections following his drunk and disorderly conviction.

The 36-year-old stockbroker was given a 12-month conditional discharge on Monday, September 24 after Worthing magistrates heard he had sworn and thrown a mobile phone at Arundel police community support officers in a drunken rage.

Mr McCarthy said he continued to work hard as a councillor and would complete his current term of office.

The Independent Tory also denied he had been sacked by the ruling Conservative group last August and pointed to health and family issues as reasons he would stand down.

He said: "I wasn't sacked, I resigned. I'm going to stand down next year.

"There were a lot of issues in my personal life and I think people should be more forgiving."

Mr McCarthy fractured his spine in a fall on September 10, the day before his drunken exploits in Arundel.

When asked if he could physically function as a councillor in his current medical condition, he said: "I'm talking to you now, aren't I? People come round the house.

"I'm still getting phone calls and emails.

"You still have to deal with problems, whether it's a bus shelter people want or a planning dispute. I've been a councillor eight years, nine next year.

"I've got one of the best records for attendance of council meetings and just look at my track record.

"I was behind Asda. Teville Gate, I met developers with that.

"I think it's vital we have a swimming pool with Teville Gate. But I haven't enjoyed the last two years because of personal circumstances.

"I haven't seen my son for nine months. I'm not happy with my back.

"It's been a bit of a rough year. That's why I'm not seeking re-election."

He said he was "surprised" by the coverage of his court appearance and felt "hounded", but admitted: "It's a little embarrassing, that's all.

"But people are not always aware of the circumstances."

The council's legal officer, Bill Johnson, said Mr McCarthy could not be penalised under the councillors' code of conduct as the Arundel incident had been in his own time.

What did you think?

LAST week we asked, do you think Mark McCarthy should be allowed to serve as a councillor in light of his court appearance?

A high proportion of people thought he should not, with a majority of 93 per cent of the vote, against just seven per cent in favour of him keeping his role.