Councillors at centre of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ probe

Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Borough Council
Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Borough Council

Three Wyre councillors could be asked to resign after a probe was launched into claims of “inappropriate behaviour”, the council’s leader has said.

Coun Peter Gibson says the complaints against the three as yet unnamed councillors are being taken “very seriously”.

These complaints used to be a bit ridiculous to be honest and would be made regularly about very little. Nowadays they are few and far between and we take them very seriously and investigate them thoroughly

Council Leader

The investigation was sparked following complaints by other council members about the behaviour of two councillors.

A second, separate probe has also been launched into allegations surrounding another councillor’s benefits claims.

The first complaint being looked into by the council’s monitoring officer Michael Ryan, is from a parish/town council clerk about the behaviour of a member of his/her council.

The second relates to a benefit claim made by a Wyre councillor, identified following a data matching exercise carried out with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

And the third is from Wyre’s Head of the Contact Centre, about a different Wyre councillor.

Coun Gibson said: “These complaints used to be a bit ridiculous to be honest and would be made regularly about very little. Nowadays they are few and far between and we take them very seriously and investigate them thoroughly.

“If any councillor is found to be doing something illegal they may be asked to step down from their role, at the moment we are still looking into them.”

Councillors would only be named if they were found guilty of any offence investigated.

All parties in the most recent case have now said they are willing to attend a mediation session to be facilitated by an specialist independent mediator to be appointed by Wyre Council’s monitoring officer, Michael Ryan.

Regarding the complaints referring to a benefit claim made by a councillor and the issue referred to Mr Ryan by Wyre’s Head of the Contact Centre, Coun Gibson said: “In two of these, there’s a chance the councillors were acting in a personal capacity instead of their official capacity as a councillor and therefore the rules don’t apply in the same way.”

Wyre council comprises of 36 tory councillors and 14 Labour councillors.