Watchdog to rule on three complaints

A PARISH councillor in Somerset is set to be reported to a national watchdog no fewer than three times.

A PARISH councillor in Somerset is set to be reported to a national watchdog no fewer than three times.

Cllr Chris Byrne was earlier this week reported to the Standards Board for England by his fellow members on Cheddar Parish Council.

Last week the Somerset Mercury reported that Cllr Byrne voted for himself to be reported to the body in a unanimous vote at a meeting of Compton Bishop Parish Council.

The Standards Board deals with complaints against elected and co-opted members and ensures they maintain high ethical standards.


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On Monday, Weare Parish Council's clerk confirmed it would also be reporting the member to the watchdog.

Its complaint relates to the Code of Conduct, which states that councillors should honour selflessness, integrity, leadership and honesty.

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Weare parish clerk Alan Parfitt said: "We would expect these things from anyone in public life. This has been brought to the floor in other areas but now it is happening a lot in this area."

At Tuesday night's meeting in Cheddar, the policy and resources committee recommended to the full council that he be cited for harassing the parish clerk, Liz Brimmell, through correspondence.

However, she said: "It would not be appropriate to report Cllr Byrne for harassment. More appropriate would be bullying and intimidation."

Members voted 10 to one for the proposal in a named vote called for by Cllr Patrick Westby. Cllr Gill Davies abstained.

Council chairman Cllr Peter Lythgoe spoke at the end of the meeting at an agenda item reserved for 'urgent matters'.

He said: "We have given him a list of our grievances and have given two weeks to agree or amend or send them back to us. He had no intention of returning the list.

"As the two weeks have now passed it means no item on the list can be discussed by this council."

Cheddar parish clerk Liz Brimmel told members that Cllr Byrne had provided his own list of grievances against his colleagues.

She added that he had reported herself, members of the policy and resources committee, and chairman Cllr Lythgoe to the Standards Board, for unspecified reasons.

Cllr Jeff Savage said: "I am not interested in receiving a list of grievances from Cllr Byrne. I am really angry he has cost this council so much time and resources with his silly ways."

Cllr Byrne said: "I am not surprised one bit. They are full of cliques and cronies. None of them follow their own guidelines.

"It is tit for tat really.

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