Councillor to face panel over swear claim

Coun Bob Brierley
Coun Bob Brierley

A WIGAN councillor accused of using a swear word in a public meeting will have to explain his actions to the town hall’s standards committee.

Coun Bob Brierley has denied using offensive language and his conduct will now be the subject of a code of conduct hearing.

The Hindley Green independent was accused of using the inappropriate term to refer to a Labour member at a heated full council meeting in November 2014.

The town hall said in September last year a resolution was close and there were still hopes the dispute would not require a costly standards hearing.

However, with the council and Coun Brierley at odds about what was said during the exchange, the Evening Post understands a hearing is likely to take place later this month as a last resort.

The controversial independent representative has been the subject of several standards hearings in recent years with council bosses accusing him of costing the taxpayer thousands through his persistent bad behaviour.

But Coun Brierley has repeatedly hit back claiming he is the subject of a witch-hunt.

Speaking to the Evening Post previously, Coun Brierley said: “I’m not apologising for something I’ve not done.” He added he has his own recording of the meeting - which was also being filmed by council officers - which proves his innocence.

At the full council meeting, Coun Brierley’s comment to Labour’s Coun Stephen Murphy brought sharp intakes of breath from the chamber floor and the public gallery and he was voted not to be heard for the rest of the meeting.

Following the remark, accusations were thrown across the chamber with Coun Anita Thorpe explaining the alleged offensive term by stating: “It was about his head and another part of his anatomy.”

Coun Brierley vowed he would make his own recording available to prove his innocence, adding: “I heard him (Coun Murphy) mumbling while I was speaking and said ‘Coun Murphy, you again’ and it’s on tape.”

His initial refusal to apologise led deputy leader Coun David Molyneux to refer the incident to the standards committee with the investigation continuing throughout 2015.