A councillor has issued a public apology over a sex slur to a woman after a council meeting.
Deputy Hartlepool Mayor Kevin Cranney breached the council’s Code Of Conduct after he asked a grandmother if he had slept with her at a council meeting.
The findings of an official council investigation into the incident called on Coun Cranney to make a public and formal apology to the victim.
Coun Cranney said: “I would like to apologise publicly for a comment I made to a member of the public at an Extraordinary Meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council on March 12 this year.
“I accept that what I said was wrong and that such a comment should never have been made. I acknowledge that my behaviour in making the remark fell a long way short of the standards expected of elected members of the borough council, and for that I am very sorry.”
Peter Devlin, the council’s monitoring officer, who carried out the investigation, said Coun Cranney’s remarks were “offensive” and had caused particular upset to the victim, who felt “humiliated and degraded”.
I accept that what I said was wrong and that such a comment should never have been made.Coun Kevin Cranney, Deputy Mayor of Hartlepool
The council launched the investigation into Coun Cranney’s remarks after receiving five separate complaints following an extraordinary council meeting at the Town Hall Theatre on March 12.
It discussed a meeting involving Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about services to Hartlepool hospital.
Video footage of the incident appeared to show Coun Cranney ask the woman: “I haven’t slept with you, have I?” The woman he made the remark to told Mr Devlin she had not said anything directly to Coun Cranney to prompt the remark.
She wishes to remain anonymous, but previously said: “I felt humiliated, degraded and insulted. I think he needs to learn how to address people.”