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Leader denies claims he made callous slur

THE leader of Hyndburn Council has rubbished claims that he made a callous slur about a councillor's disability.

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THE leader of Hyndburn Council has rubbished claims that he made a callous slur about a councillor's disability.

Councillor Peter Britcliffe spoke out after the deputy leader of the Labour group, Councillor David Myles, reported him to the National Standards Board for making a remark about his walking stick and branding him a "liar".

But Councillor Britcliffe said: "I would like to stress that I didn't intend it as a slur and was simply telling Councillor Myles he had forgotten his walking stick."

Tempers flared during a meeting of the Cabinet last week when Councillor Myles was accused of spreading false information about area council cash.

But he hit back and said the figures had appeared in an official document from Church Area Council.

Councillor Myles, who uses a walking stick after suffering a leg injury several years ago, lodged a complaint with the watchdog this week, claiming his reputation had been tarnished.

He said: "Councillor Britcliffe did not just call me a liar once, but several times, and did so in an abusive and aggressive manner."

He went on: "He ignored my request to reply. I had to demand the right to speak. I then tried to address his claims but he interrupted me several times."

"I was so angry I did not feel I could stay and I almost left without my stick."

"He then said in a very sarcastic manner: 'Don't forget your walking stick Councillor Myles. You can't walk without that'."

But Councillor Britcliffe denied the claims, saying: "I was extremely disappointed that he had deliberately misled people over area council funding by saying it was biased towards one area over another."

"He says I was calling him a liar, but they were his words and not mine."

On the walking stick issue, he added: "I felt he was going to forget it and, as he had embarrassed himself enough, I didn't want him to have to come back into the meeting and embarrass himself again."