Mayor Cullen has no case to answer

Mayor of Wigan Councillor Phyll Cullen
Mayor of Wigan Councillor Phyll Cullen

A COMPLAINT made against Wigan’s cancer stricken mayor by a fellow councillor has been thrown out by council officials.

In the latest fallout from a tempestuous meeting in November, Coun Bob Brierley had accused Mayor Phyll Cullen of misconduct for ordering him out of the chamber for bad behaviour.

It will be up to the Council to prove I said what they have accused me of

Coun Brierley

The outspoken Hindley Green independent faces disciplinary proceedings for allegedly using a swear word to refer to a Labour party member during the meeting at Leigh Town Hall.

This occurred days before Mayor Cullen’s courageous battle with breast cancer was made public but Coun Brierley had continued with his complaint. The Mayor has only recently returned to formal duties while she waits chemotherapy treatment.

Coun Brierley denies uttering the alleged swear word and has vowed to fight his case.

But council officers told the Evening Post that his complaint against Mayor Cullen has already been dismissed as there is no question she acted inappropriately.

The incident that sparked the dispute took place during full council proceedings when Coun Brierley felt he was being interrupted by Labour’s Coun Stephen Murphy.

Despite the independent member initially being told by council officials a mayoral warning had been deemed appropriate sanction for the alleged remark, the issue was re-ignited last month when deputy leader Coun David Molyneux called for a disciplinary hearing.

Coun Brierley told the Evening Post: “The Mayor did not hear what was said and therefore should not have acted the way she did in calling for me to leave.

“She said she had been told by senior officers, including the chief executive, what had been said.

“And why has it taken so long to have come to anything? Because they’re planning things.”

A date has not yet been set for a disciplinary hearing relating to the incident, the Evening Post understands.

Coun Brierley added: “It will be up to the Council to prove I said what they have accused me of. I have my own recording and they will need an expert to prove it. The opposition councillors did not hear me say it.

“I have asked the mayor for an apology. I was embarrassed by having to leave the meeting.”

At last month’s meeting of the full council, Coun Terence Halliwell said the meet was an opportunity for Coun Brierley to apologise.

Coun David Molyneux added: “We have got witnesses and we’ve seen the video. Tonight was a perfect opportunity to say sorry.”

To watch a video of the incident, visit http://tinyurl.com/ns4nfub