Tendring: Deputy leader Peter Halliday rejects calls for his resignation over alleged outburst

A SENIOR councillor has rejected calls for his resignation over an alleged outburst at a heckler.

Peter Halliday, tipped to be the next leader of Tendring District Council (TDC), was accused of confronting a member of the public who had shouted abuse during a meeting in May.

The council asked an independent panel to look into the allegations against Mr Halliday – currently deputy leader of the authority – and it found him guilty of gross misconduct.

Mr Halliday yesterday called the investigation inadequate.

TDC’s seven-strong conduct committee has more recently ruled he did not breach the councillors’ code of conduct - and that has now prompted a coalition of councillors, comprising every opposition member on TDC, to call for Mr Halliday’s resignation.

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But Mr Halliday told the EADT: “I will not be resigning. I have got thick skin and broad shoulders and I fully intend to focus on the policy of the council, not the personalities.

“If some opposition members put more time into council work and less time into what I believe are personal attacks on individuals our district would be a better place to live in.”

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A complaint was made against Mr Halliday after he confronted Paul Dearsley at a meeting of TDC on May 22. Mr Dearsley had heckled him over a decision not to make council land available to Willow Tree Nursery in Clacton for additional parking.

Ivan Henderson, leader of the Labour group on TDC, said: “I have never witnessed anything quite like it and assumed the conduct committee would act upon the findings of the independent inquiry.

“I think Mr Halliday should have resigned the morning after the incident without any need for an inquiry.

“It is incredible, in my view, to think that any Conservative councillor can believe he can remain as deputy leader of the council with any dignity or credibility.”

Harry Shearing, Lib Dem leader on TDC, said: “Mr Halliday has been found guilty by an independent panel following an independent investigation.”

He believed that alone warranted his resignation, even before members of the conduct committee rejected the complaint.

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