Complaint lodged against ‘Anglo-Saxon’ language of councillor

Coun Geoff Lilley
Coun Geoff Lilley

A SENIOR councillor has lodged an official complaint after accusing another member of “wholly inappropriate behaviour” following a council meeting.

Conservative group leader Ray Wells has complained to Hartlepool Borough Council’s chief solicitor about the conduct of Putting Hartlepool First councillor, Geoff Lilley, following last week’s meeting of the full council.

Coun Ray Wells pictured opposite the Ward Jackson park fountain.

Coun Ray Wells pictured opposite the Ward Jackson park fountain.

Coun Lilley has admitted using “Anglo-Aaxon” language in the aftermath of the meeting, which was to decide which councillors sat on which committees and outside bodies.

The incident happened in the underground car park of the Civic Centre.

It comes as Coun Lilley has stood down as leader of Putting Hartlepool First, but he said the two are not related and that group members had been thinking about the change for several months.

Following last week’s meeting, Coun Lilley was unhappy that Putting Hartlepool First had missed out on a seat on the Cleveland Fire Authority.

The four members are Labour councillors Robbie Payne, Carl Richardson and Stephen Akers-Belcher and Conservative group leader Ray Wells despite recommendations from chief solicitor Peter Devlin that the fourth position should go to an independent councillor or member of Putting Hartlepool First.

Coun Wells said: “At this stage I can only confirm that Coun Lilley acted in a wholly inappropriate manner after last Thursday’s full council meeting.

“I have reported the matter to the chief solicitor, I have been questioned by the chair of the council over the same incident and it is my understanding that the matter will now be taken forward under the new standards regime.

“It would be wrong of me to speak further at this time.”

Coun Lilley said: “Strong words were expressed.

“I used basic Anglo-Saxon language because I wanted to make sure Coun Wells understood where I was coming from. It is now in the hands of the borough solicitor.”

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the leadership of Putting Hartlepool First will be taken on by councillor Alison Lilley, with Coun Geoff Lilley taking on the role of party spokesman.

Coun Alison Lilley said: “It is a huge privilege to serve the people of Fens and Rossmere Ward and the whole of Hartlepool as the leader of the only political party in the town which has the will and the number of seats to even attempt to provide any effective checks or balances to the Labour dominance in Hartlepool Civic Centre.”

Coun Geoff Lilley said: “I felt there were better people to take on the leadership role and relinquishing it allows me to get on with what I do best, being an outspoken and indeed dare I say sometimes contentious spokesperson for the party and the people of Hartlepool.”

Party chairman, Colin McClelland said: “The reality is that change is coming, in next year’s local elections Putting Hartlepool First will again be contesting every seat and seeking to unseat councillors who put themselves or their parties first and replace them with new councillors who will put Hartlepool First.”