Conduct complaint rejected

The Wigan Council chamber
The Wigan Council chamber

A WIGAN councillor accused of disrespectful behaviour towards the mayor at a chamber meeting will not face a standards investigation.

A complaint against Coun Fred Walker concerning his conduct during full council proceedings in March has been rejected by local authority standards officials.

But the Labour member for Leigh East will be spoken to about his future behaviour by monitoring officer Linda Fisher, the Evening Post understands.

The complaint was lodged by independent councillor Bob Brierley after an exchange which saw Coun Walker clash with opposition members about how much cash the council has in reserves.

Mayor Phyll Cullen had asked for Coun Walker to stop speaking and indicated they should move on to the next item.

But Coun Walker told her: “I think you have been wrongly advised.”

Coun Brierley said: “Labour members were losing their tempers and Coun Walker disrespected the mayor by talking over her and by what he said.

“If the council says he has not done anything wrong then why does the monitoring officer need to speak to him about behaviour?”

Coun Brierley has been informed the complaint was rejected because standards officers viewed it “as a politically motivated, tit for tat complaint.”

Coun Walker told Wigan Today: “Complaints by Coun Brierley on conduct at council meetings - with his track record of disrupting most council meetings - I do not take seriously.”

The local authority’s annual budget was approved at the meeting in March although former leader of the opposition Gary Wilkes had called on the council to spend some of its reserves to help borough communities.

Coun Walker had told the chamber: “That money is owed to people and those balances are part of how we survive. When you talk about this £90m as if it some kind of magic lump of money lying there doing nothing, it’s money we owe. And it’s that fundamental difference you don’t seem to get and I’m slightly embarrassed about that.”

And it was at this point that Mayor Cullen called for the meeting to move on.