Littleport Councillor Was Disrespectful To Council Leader

PUBLISHED: 09:11 19 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:49 04 May 2010

A COMMENT about district council leader Fred Brown landed fellow councillor Neil Morrison in hot water this week. A nine-month investigation was launched after Cllr Morrison, a Liberal Democrat, implied at a Littleport Parish Council meeting last July tha

A COMMENT about district council leader Fred Brown landed fellow councillor Neil Morrison in hot water this week. A nine-month investigation was launched after Cllr Morrison, a Liberal Democrat, implied at a Littleport Parish Council meeting last July that his fellow Littleport representative had awarded himself a huge pay increase soon after arriving in office in May, in order to pay for his new home.

Independent district and parish councillor, Andy Wright said: "He has every right to criticise the allowance increases, but I don't think it should be reduced to a personal level.

"I said I thought his comment was grossly out of order."

It emerged at the Standards hearing on Tuesday that Cllr Morrison had in fact voted for changes to all councillors' allowances, which went up to more than £3,000 a year, with extra money for Liberal Democrat spokespeople and chairs of committees.

Cllr Morrison compared paperwork to a "dodgy dossier," disputing reports by the parish council and the press, but Littleport parish councillor Christine Ambrose-Smith and clerk Linda Clarke-Jones supported Cllr Wright's version of events.

Cllr Morrison refused to apologise or admit whether or not he had breached the council's Code of Conduct before chairman Anthony Mizen pronounced his decision.

"Had he issued an apology I would not have taken the action that I did," said Cllr Wright, "but he stood by his comments."

In his defence, Neil Morrison said he stood by his statement. "I try to give my presentation of the facts as I see them," he said, and went on to quiz Cllr Wright.

Chair of the standards sub-committee Anthony Mizen, who is not a member of the council, found evidence of disrespect but agreed Cllr Morrison had not brought the office of councillor into disrepute.

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