Deputy leader of Suffolk County Council denies using offensive language to describe senior colleagues
07:00 10 February 2016
Suffolk County Council deputy leader Christopher Hudson has denied allegations made against him when asked by party bosses.
Mr Hudson was called to a meeting with Conservative group leader Colin Noble and group chairman Graham Newman yesterday after Mr Noble heard a report that his deputy had made offensive comments about two senior colleagues at the council.
Mr Noble said his deputy had told them he could not recall saying anything that could be considered offensive.
The group noted Mr Hudson’s denial of using offensive language and is to inform the council’s monitoring officer that the meeting had been held. This would not be an official request to the monitoring officer to start an investigation.
Suffolk County Council monitoring officer Tim Ryder can start an official investigation into the behaviour of a councillor if an official complaint is lodged with him.
If the councillor is found to have broken the councillors’ code of conduct at Endeavour House they can be told to make a public apology and to undergo special training.
Meanwhile it emerged yesterday that the monitoring officer of Suffolk Coastal District Council – of which Mr Hudson is also a member – had been asked to look into two allegations of bullying against the councillor.
Two councillors who have served in the Suffolk Coastal area have made the allegations and Mr Hudson has been removed from Suffolk Coastal’s planning committee while the investigation takes place. A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal said they could not confirm or deny that any investigation had been launched while it was actually taking place.
He said: “Suffolk Coastal takes all complaints very seriously. All our Councillors agree to follow the Suffolk Code of Conduct, which sets out standards of behaviour.
“Where there is an allegation that a councillor may have broken the code, there is a complaints procedure in place to ensure that the matter is properly investigated. However, this process must remain confidential until the complaint has been fully investigated to discover if there is any substance to the allegation.
“If it is found that the code has been breached, a report is submitted to the council’s Audit and Governance Committee, which would normally be considered in public.”
He said if a councillor was found to have breached the code, the councillor could be censured or asked to undertake special training to ensure it did not happen again.
Mr Hudson could not be contacted to make a comment last night.