A WATCHDOG has refused to take action over claims that Hyndburn Council leader Peter Britcliffe called a Labour opponent a “silly cow”.
Councillor Colette McCormack said she was so upset at the alleged remark, made at a council meeting in December, that she reported him to the Standards Board.
The board has decided not to investigate the complaint on the grounds that it was “not serious enough”.
But Councillor McCor-mack said she was still angry.
She said: “At the meeting Councillor Britcliffe was having a go at our leader, Councillor Graham Jones, saying he could not work in partnerships so I shouted that it was rich him saying that when he can’t even work in partnership with the Lancashire Local committee.
“He replied: ‘You can’t even string four words together to make a sentence, sit down you silly cow.’
“I am surprised the Standards Board wouldn’t even look into it. I just think this will create a free-for-all where anyone can say anything they like.
“Councillor Britcliffe seems to get mad when I raise things which are of interest to the people of Hyndburn. I know he is very experienced and he often makes a lot of sense but petty name-calling is not the path to go down.”
In its letter to Councillor McCormack, the Standards Board said: “During the course of a heated debate councillors can sometimes get carried away and resort to name-calling, abusive heckling and other disruptive or disrespectful behaviour.
“We agree that this is inappropriate and unprofessional and a potential breach of the Code of Conduct which requires members to treat others with respect.
“However, as a fellow-politician, the complainant has a public platform from which to defend herself and her ideas.
“Allegations of simple name-calling, political point-scoring or mild rude and inappropriate langauge would not be serious to refer for investigation.”
Councillor Britcliffe said: “I have no recollection of using those words, which are not in my vocabulary. I have asked the people who were sitting next to me at the meeting and they have no recollection of it either.
“This is typical Labour Party propaganda. They report me to the board every year before the elections.
“I have been cleared every time and I am not surprised this allegation has been dismissed out of hand. It is a waste of time and a waste of public money.”