Council chaos as ex-leader investigated

Peter Gibson
Peter Gibson

Upheaval at Wyre Council continues as an investigation is launched into its former leader.

Officers from Blackpool Council were called in following a damning email sent to council members by ousted leader Peter Gibson.

The email, which was sent on Friday, contained serious allegations against fellow council members.

An investigation is now underway as a Wyre Council spokesman said there was a ‘high likelihood that he has broken the Data Protection Act’, because ‘the email sent out contained names and information which had been given to Coun Gibson in confidence’.

But Coun Gibson, who was ousted from his leadership role by his own Conservative party last month, has stood by his claims.

He said: “It is all the truth. I absolutely stand by it.

“These are all things that nobody has denied.

“I don’t feel worried at all. If somebody wants to take me to court, I would welcome that, because I know everything I have said is true.

“You can’t take somebody to court because they say something you don’t like.”

He added that he has now been blocked from contacting his fellow councillors via email.

The move is the latest in a series of dramatic developments at Wyre Council.

In September, councillors Alan Vincent and Peter Murphy were removed from the cabinet by Coun Gibson. And, in a further twist, the two men lined up to replace them - Howard Ballard and Barry Birch - declined the roles of resources portfolio holder and member for planning and economic development.

Conservative councillors later voted Coun Gibson off as leader as they claimed he was no longer in a fit position to lead the council, with 34 out of 36 approving the decision.

Coun Vincent has now taken leadership of the council, and a meeting to select the new leader will be held on December 7

Wyre Council chief executive Garry Payne said: “There are statements within the original email which could be considered libellous and the matter is being taken very seriously.

“To avoid any accusations of bias, I have spoken to the chief executive of Blackpool Council, Neil Jack, and it has been agreed that their senior information risk officer and their monitoring officer will investigate the matter on our behalf.”