Councillor facing probe over alleged swear word

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AN outspoken Wigan councillor is to face disciplinary proceedings over his alleged use of inappropriate language at a town hall meeting.

Hindley Green independent Coun Bob Brierley was voted not to be heard at Leigh town hall following a remark made to Labour’s Coun Stephen Murphy last Wednesday.

Councillor Bob Brierley appears to swear during a council meeting

Councillor Bob Brierley appears to swear during a council meeting

Farcical scenes followed as Coun Brierley denied using a swear word and asked what term his chamber colleagues had heard.

As accusations were thrown across the chamber floor, Coun Anita Thorpe, Labour member for Leigh East said: “It was about his head and another part of his anatomy.”

A spokesman for Wigan Council confirmed the incident had been referred to the local authority’s standards procedure officers.

Coun Brierley, who maintains he did not use an offensive term, left the full council meeting shortly after the incident.

Council officers were recording the proceedings and an extract of the video footage has been seen by the Evening Post which suggests the outspoken councillor did use a swear word.

Coun Brierley told the Evening Post after the meeting - but before confirmation of a complaint being submitted - he had his own recording of the meeting which would make clear he did not use inappropriate language.

He said: “I will be asking for an apology because I was embarrassed, I was made to shut up and I’d done nothing wrong. It was only Labour councillors who said that I had (used the swear word).

“I feel ashamed the council is stooping so low to spoil my credibility. It was like a kindergarten schoolyard in there.”

Coun Brierley vowed he would make his own recording available to prove his innocence, adding: “I heard him mumbling while I was speaking and said ‘Coun Murphy, you again’ and it’s on tape.”

Following the remarks, there were sharp intakes of breath from the chamber floor and public gallery. Councillors voted for the Hindley Green representative not to be heard for the remainder of the meeting.

This controversy comes a week after Coun Brierley had his ability to administer brighter borough funding to community projects withdrawn.

He was the subject of six back-to-back standards hearings which finished this month and was found guilty of conduct breaches relating to “bullying and intimidatory” behaviour.

Watch the video and make your own mind up. Does Councillor Brierley use inappropriate language or does he say ‘Coun Murphy, you again’?