LORD Smith marked his return to Wigan’s council chamber by directing a personal jibe at an opposition councillor.
The proceedings on Wednesday evening had been specially arranged so the local authority could appoint a new boss if the Labour veteran had got the job as GM interim mayor.
But the leader took the opportunity to aim a dig at Hindley Green independent Bob Brierley.
Coun Brierley - who has been the subject of several conduct hearings in recent years - nominated himself to take up a vacant position on a GM combined authority committee.
But Lord Smith said “if I was looking around this chamber to choose someone as a public representative of Wigan, even if he promised to wear his best tracksuit bottoms, I don’t think Coun Brierley would be...” The leader was then cut off by Coun Brierley who called it “a very insulting remark.”
Coun Brierley responded: “The council may not appreciate me but the people do.”
Lord Smith added: “I can assure Coun Brierley he would be absolutely at the bottom of the list, although he would not be on his own at the bottom.”
Earlier, Coun Gareth Fairhurst questioned whether the leader should remain on the combined authority’s cabinet given the critical comments about fellow council leaders and their decision not to appoint Lord Smith as GM mayor.
The meeting concluded with confirmation that the council will see no cabinet changes for the coming year and Coun David Molyneux will remain as deputy leader.
The council may not appreciate me but the people doCoun Bob Brierley