Former Lord Mayor resigns after breaking quarantine rules following trip to France

Cllr John Mutton has resigned from the Council’s Cabinet after leaving his home to attend an appointment and collect papers during a 14-day quarantine.

Coventry City Council House

A Coventry Labour councillor has resigned from his position as the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources after breaching mandatory COVID-19 quarantine rules.

Cllr John Mutton, the former Leader of Coventry City Council and Lord Mayor, formally tendered his resignation on Tuesday evening in a letter to the current council leader.

The Binley and Willenhall councillor left his home on Monday during a mandatory quarantine, following a trip to France, to attend an appointment and collect some papers from the Council House.

Martin Reeves, the Chief Executive of the Council, after discovering what had happened reported Mutton to the police.

West Midlands Police later paid a visit to Mutton and advised him to stay at home.

The councillor justified his lapse in judgement as being down to “not understanding the rules”.

In his resignation letter, the councillor said: “unlike Dominic Cummings, I believe that if you break the rules then you have to accept the responsibility and the buck stops with me.”

In 2013, Mutton made national headlines for starting an email chain amongst Labour Party member making jokes about flying a “smiling” flag at half-mast on the Council House during the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.

Mutton later retracted his comments.

It is the second time in recent weeks that a member of the Council’s Cabinet has been forced to resign for breaking coronavirus rules after Cllr Tariq Khan was filmed at an illegal gathering of over 200 people.

Council Leader, Cllr George Duggins, praised Mutton in a statement: “I want to place on the record my thanks for his work over the near two decades that I have worked with him.”

Cllr Alan Andrews, Deputy Leader of the Coventry Conservative Group, said: “Cllr John Mutton has done the right thing, but I personally take no joy in seeing him resign from the Cabinet.”

Cllr Gary Ridley, Leader of the Coventry Conservative Group, recognised that Mutton had “resigned swiftly and with dignity allowing us all to move on”, adding that is “stands in stark contrast to the events of a few weeks ago” when Cllr Tariq Khan resigned.

It is thought that Mutton will continue in his role as a councillor for the Binley and Willenhall ward.