Councillor could lose his seat

Cllr Robert Bleakley
Cllr Robert Bleakley

AN under-fire Wigan councillor faces losing his seat if he fails to turn up to next week’s full chamber meeting.

A no-show would see Coun Robert Bleakley breach local authority regulations requiring elected members to attend at least one meeting in each six month period.

The Tyldesley independent representative, who attracted widespread condemnation for using his council mobile to call sex chat lines last year, would not indicate to the Evening Post if he plans to attend.

Instead he turned the tables on Labour councillors with less favourable attendance records.

He said: “I am well known as the hardest working councillor in the borough and do my work where it matters, in the community.

“In spite of that, my attendance record at all meetings is equal to many Labour councillors such as Susan Loudon and John Hilton and better than David Arrowsmith and James Churton.

“Labour grandee Coun Hilton has attended one full council meeting in the last six months.”

Coun Bleakley was sanctioned last year for amassing a £2,000 bill for the sex chat line calls and was found to have sent sexist and X-rated messages and accessed pornographic websites.

He has been ordered to attend equal opportunities training and the council has instructed female members of staff not to talk to him. A petition calling for his resignation was circulated as a result.

He last attended a health and social care committee meeting in August but has since had his committee place revoked when ties with the Standish Independent Group were severed.

Therefore the remaining meeting before the six month cut off point is next week’s meet at Leigh Town Hall.

Coun Bleakley added: “Wigan Council meetings are nothing more than a Labour pantomime orchestrated by the chief Dame at which the Labour Mafia misuse their positions to abuse, insult and bully opposition councillors.”

According to attendance data available on the council’s website, the former Lib Dem member’s record over the last six months is 50 per cent with two from four appearances. He attended two of the seven meetings of the full council in 2014.

Over the last six months, Coun Arrowsmith’s attendance record stands at 33 per cent, Coun Churton’s at 47.

However, neither are in danger of breaching the six month rule.

Although he only attended one meeting in the last six months, Coun John Hilton attended four out of seven full council meetings last year