Council leader removed over ‘drinking’ claim

Peter Gibson
Peter Gibson

Concerns over a council leader came to a head when he turned up for a meeting “the worse for wear for drink”, councillors were told.

The revelation came as Coun Peter Gibson was ousted as leader of Wyre Council by his own Conservative party.

Coun Alan Vincent, Wyre Council

Coun Alan Vincent, Wyre Council

He was replaced temporarily by his deputy Coun Alan Vincent, who Labour councillors claimed was also “unfit” to lead the authority.

Wyre Council held an extraordinary meeting on Thursday night to discuss the motion to remove the leader of the council.

Coun Gibson is away on holiday and was not at the meeting.

Coun Vincent said he proposed the motion with a “heavy heart”, but it was in the best interests of the the people of Wyre.

The motion was carried by 31 votes to none, with eight abstentions.

Conservatives say the issue centres around concerns that Coun Gibson appeared to be “unable to take a meeting” at the council .

The councillor, a diabetic, has previously accused the group of cowardice for making the decision at a time when they knew he would be taking a holiday in Portugal.

His colleague Coun David Henderson told the council meeting Coun Gibson turned up “the worse for wear” with drink at a meeting in June.

He said: “I have tried time and time again to talk sense into Peter. He just wouldn’t listen.

“Sometimes when someone is suffering from an illness like that they won’t help themselves.”

The meeting heard that at the time the date of the extraordinary meeting was fixed, no-one knew Coun Gibson was planning a holiday.

Labour Coun Ruth Duffy said she was amazed by the “arrogance” of Coun Vincent in believing he was fit to lead the council.

She reminded colleagues that Coun Vincent was suspended from his post as council leader in 2004 after bringing his office into disrepute.

She accused Coun Vincent of “showing total disregard and disrespect for the people of Wyre.”

Coun Vincent said the incident in 2004 was an error of judgement when he was trying to help a taxi driver at a licensing hearing.

A standards tribunal felt it was bringing his office into disrepute and suspended him.

He said he had worked his way back up through the council to his current position and accused Labour of “trying to grab headlines” with their attack on him.

Coun Vincent was confirmed as temporary leader, until December at the latest. He says he will not stand for leader himself.

Coun Gibson could not be reached for comment.