Councillor’s conduct under scrutiny

Coun Bob Brierley
Coun Bob Brierley

A SERIES of six hearings about the behaviour of a Wigan councillor will begin next month, the council has announced.

Hindley Green representative Coun Bob Brierley will face the standards committee once a week from September 30 over separate allegations of breaching the elected members’ code of conduct.

The hearings were due to take place earlier this month but were postponed because Coun Brierley was on holiday.

Concerns had also been voiced because the only non-Labour member of the standards committee, Coun Jim Ellis, was also on annual leave. Both are able to attend the rescheduled dates.

Coun Brierley told the Evening Post he will be represented by former councillor Emma McGurrin who was unseated in this year’s elections.

He said: “I am pleased that the hearings will be done separately, I just want it to be done correctly.

“A number of these allegations have been made by a third party and I will be putting this to the committee that they should not go ahead. The council is gunning for me and that is what’s happening.”

The six charges Coun Brierley will face relate to behaviour alleged to have been disrespectful, abusive, bringing his office into disrepute, in breach of the member officer protocol and of a bullying and intimidation nature.

He has previously said that the claims, which he strongly refutes, are part of a “smokescreen” in an attempt to stop him being “an effective councillor for the people of Hindley Green.”

Council bosses have voiced their dissatisfaction with the postponement of the hearings.

Leader Lord Peter Smith said that his chamber colleague had informed the authority that he was on holiday throughout August but has still been attending to council business. He added: “Either someone was lying to us or someone has been impersonating him, attending meetings and using his phone.

“But I don’t think anyone will come forward claiming to be Coun Brierley’s double so there is only one conclusion – someone has been telling ‘porkies’.”

Coun Brierley said that he attended a meeting during his holiday time because it related to an urgent issue for one of his ward constituents.