Inquiry into councillor's bingo conduct

By Patrick LowmanAN investigation will be launched into the conduct of a councillor who shoved her disabled neighbour during a row at a bingo session.

By Patrick Lowman

AN investigation will be launched into the conduct of a councillor who shoved her disabled neighbour during a row at a bingo session.

The Standards Board for England has confirmed it will investigate allegations made against Great Cornard parish councillor Carol Beer by her neighbour, Molly Kirby, who claimed she was left shaken and bruised by the incident.

The watchdog said its investigation would focus on the allegations that Miss Beer breached her code of conduct by failing to treat others with respect and brought the authority she represents into disrepute.

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If the board finds Miss Beer has breached the rules, she could be suspended or even disqualified as a councillor.

Miss Beer, 57, said she welcomed the investigation and added she remained confident she would be cleared of any wrongdoing.

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“I have nothing to fear from the investigation. I have not treated anybody badly, I did shove Molly, but it was not hard and it was nothing but a tiff that has nothing to do with anybody else,” she said.

“The incident has been blown out of proportion and it certainly has nothing to do with Great Cornard Parish Council.”

The Conservative parish councillor received a police warning after the incident with Miss Kirby, 56, at Great Cornard's Community Drop-in Centre, on May 25 during an afternoon bingo session.

The pair became embroiled in a row over who was making refreshments for the bingo.

Miss Kirby, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, claimed she had been shoved so hard that she had been sent crashing through tables and had been left with a badly-bruised back and leg.

She called the police after the incident and made a formal complaint over the councillor's behaviour to the Standards Board for England.

A spokesman for the Standards Board for England said: “I can confirm an investigation has commenced into allegations made against Carol Beer that have been made by a member of the public.

“The allegations are that she failed to treat others with respect and that she brought the authority into disrepute.”

Parish council vice-chairman, Humphrey Todd, said: “We hope this matter can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion as soon as possible so that we can concentrate on our jobs of serving the people of Great Cornard.”

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