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‘It’s personal’, says councillor after swearing claims

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: June 03, 2014

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POLITICS in Burton has become personal according to a councillor who said he was ‘deeply offended’ after being accused of swearing at members of the opposition during a heated meeting at Burton Town Hall.

Winshill councillor Ian North was referred to the council’s Standards Committee by Conservative group leader Richard Grosvenor, who alleged his Labour counterpart had called senior Tories b******s during a full council meeting last month.

Councillor North, who denied swearing but admitted calling members of the rival party a ‘disgrace’, believes councillors on both sides of the political divide in the town have resorted to point scoring of late, which he said was ‘not good for the people of East Staffordshire’.

Relations between the opposition groups at Burton Town Hall are at an all-time low after the Conservatives were controversially ousted from power in February.

The latest row surrounded the Tories’ decision to abstain from voting for a new mayor after Labour’s Ron Clarke was put forward for the position by the new controlling group.

Tory David Leese had been all set to become mayor having served as deputy since last year, prompting their reluctance to back Councillor Clarke.

Councillor North said: “The Conservative group, led by Richard Grosvenor, abstained and I said that was a disgrace and I stand by that. I felt it was against the spirit of mayor-making, a completely unjust kind of action. The whole Labour group was disgusted by it, there were even members of the Conservative group who came over and apologised.”

“I was deeply offended by the allegation that was made but I believe that’s just the way Richard Grosvenor conducts politics. I find it hard to cope with.”

Councillor Grosvenor said: “I made a complaint and it was a complaint I thought was valid. I saw Ian mouth something across the stage but he denied it and said he said something else and I accept that.

“We were voting for a mayor and we decided to abstain as it is our right to do. We didn’t agree with the fact a new mayor had been put forward. It was nothing personal against Ron Clarke, David Leese had been deputy for 12 months. It was bad form.”

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