THE leader of Hyndburn Council is furious over a "Christmas kissing ban" which has brought unwanted national publicity as an example of political correctness gone mad.
We revealed last week how council bosses sent a memo to all staff warning them not to be "misled by mistletoe" over the festive season.
It warned against "inappropriate behaviour" at Christmas parties including suggestive language, unwanted jokes and unnecessary bodily contact.
The memo, signed by head of human resources Bernadette Mullen and approved by chief executive David Welsby, also said that "Secret Santa" gifts should be carefully chosen so as not to cause offence and risqué items must be avoided.
The council’s Tory leader Peter Britcliffe has now ordered that he must be consulted on such matters in future.
A colleague said: "He is fuming at being associated with such an example of ridiculous political correctness."
Councillor Britcliffe publicly defended his officers for sending the memo but added: "It is a sad sign of the times that they felt the need to write to our workers in this way.
"It is not something I would have chosen to do personally. My message would have been far simpler – respect your colleagues and remember you will still have to work with them after Christmas and the New Year.
"If I had been consulted I would have offered the advice that it was not necessary to dot every i and cross every t. I would just have said respect others and apply common sense.
"I can’t stand this namby-pamby political correctness."
Labour leader, Councillor Graham Jones, said: "We are too politically correct. People should be able to behave sensibly and respect each other without having to be told. I think sometimes people need to accept more responsibility for themselves rather than have it passed down from other people. These days everybody is covering their own backs. We are frozen by fear."
But Councillor Clare Pritchard said: "If you don’t want to read a message then click on the outbox and delete it. I don’t see what all the fuss is about."
John Migdley, founder of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, said: "It sounds to me that some PC bureaucrat wants to be a Christmas killjoy. The memo is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money."