Tracksuit bottoms remark was below the belt

AN outspoken Wigan councillor has called for Lord Smith to be reprimanded for aiming a “very insulting remark” about his appearance.

Hindley Green Coun Bob Brierley was told at Wednesday’s full council meeting he would be “the last person” the local authority would nominate to represent it on an outside body.

Coun Bob Brierley outside Wigan town hall on his way to a council meeting

Coun Bob Brierley outside Wigan town hall on his way to a council meeting

But he took offence as Lord Smith added: “Even if he (Coun Brierley) promised to wear his best tracksuit bottoms.”

Coun Brierley, who has himself received several reprimands for his conduct during chamber meetings, is demanding the leader receives a mayoral warning.

In a letter to first citizen Coun Sue Loudon, he said: “I found your meeting a disgrace as you allowed Coun Smith to breach the rules of conduct.

“The leader made insulting remarks about me and you did nothing. The defamatory and insulting remarks against me should have been addressed and I request a warning be given to Coun Smith at the next meeting.”

The council may not appreciate me but the people do, Coun Smith

Coun Bob Brierley

Councillors had been issued with conduct cheat-sheets at recent meetings in a bid to curb unruly behaviour which has blighted proceedings throughout the last year.

But the guidance seemed to have been disregarded by the council leader and Labour veteran.

The exchange occurred because Coun Brierley had nominated himself to fill a vacant committee place on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

The leader told the chamber: “If I was looking around this chamber to choose someone as a public representative of Wigan across all of local government, even if he promised to wear his best tracksuit bottoms, I don’t think Coun Brierley would be...”

Lord Smith was then cut off by Coun Brierley who called it “a very insulting remark.” He was heard agreeing “it is” before adding “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, but he would certainly be at the bottom.”

Coun Brierley was told to be quiet by Mayor Loudon but said: “The council may not appreciate me but the people do, Coun Smith.”

With Mayor Loudon adding: “You’re stretching my appreciation on this matter.”

Last year Coun Brierley was informed he would receive a warning from the mayor after he was alleged to have used a swear word to refer to a Labour councillor, something he denies.

The matter is still subject to an investigation but a hearing date has not been set.