Under-fire councillor still out in the cold

Coun Bob Brierley outside Wigan town hall on his way to a council meeting

Coun Bob Brierley outside Wigan town hall on his way to a council meeting

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AN outspoken Wigan councillor was blocked in his attempts to regain a committee place as another council meeting ended in dispute.

Coun Bob Brierley was removed from the confident places scrutiny committee last year as punishment for breaching the members’ code of conduct.

But the independent representative for Hindley Green believes he has government backing that the sanctions imposed upon him are against local authority regulations.

His nomination was blocked by Labour Party members who said the standards committee recommendations should be followed.

And monitoring officer Linda Fisher told the chamber all sanctions imposed on Coun Brierley were lawful and would therefore stand.

Coun Brierley had earlier this year written to the Department for Local Government and Communities and been informed new regulations allowed for “censure not sanction.”

He told the chamber this week: “I’m sick and tired of this council making up their own rules all the time.”

He added he would be reporting officers for criminal misconduct because of his treatment.

Leader of Standish Independents Coun Gareth Fairhurst said a “line should be drawn” and blocking Coun Brierley would “set a bad tone for the municipal year.”

Adding: “There has never been any complaints about Coun Brierley’s conduct during committee meetings.”

Coun Brierley was the subject of a series of six standards hearings last year considering allegations he behaved in a bullying and intimidatory manner toward council officers, volunteers and members of the public.

He was found guilty in each but disputed the verdicts and criticised how the hearings had been conducted, claiming having a Labour dominated committee panel was “undemocratic.”

Labour cabinet member Coun Terry Halliwell told the chamber the council must abide by the recommendations of the standards committee, explaining Coun Brierley has had ample opportunity to apologise for his conduct.

He added: “This is not personal, we have to support the works of the standards committee and stand by the decision they make. He was asked to apologise and attend training sessions but he was unwilling to do so.

“Members should behave in a way befitting an elected representative.”

The chamber voted against allowing Coun Brierley a committee place.