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Another politician under the microscope

PUBLISHED: 17:30 19 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:47 09 March 2010

A SECOND formal complaint this year has been made against a town hall politician for alleged bullying, it emerged today.

Martin Cook, Labour councillor for Gainsborough, has been reported to Ipswich Borough Council for allegedly failing to treat others with respect and bullying.

A SECOND formal complaint this year has been made against a town hall politician for alleged bullying, it emerged today.

Martin Cook, Labour councillor for Gainsborough, has been reported to Ipswich Borough Council for allegedly failing to treat others with respect and bullying.

It is understood the complaint relates to an overview and scrutiny meeting in which Mr Cook questioned a council officer over the authority's £5million of investments in Icelandic bank accounts.

A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council confirmed that a complaint has been made against Mr Cook.

“A complaint has been received by the council and this will be considered shortly by the local Assessments Committee,” the spokesman said.

“It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time."

It is understood an initial hearing could take place as early as next week.

Mr Cook, who refutes the allegations, told The Evening Star he believes the accusation relates to a series of questions he asked during a council meeting about decisions made in relation to £5million of council cash invested in Icelandic bank accounts.

As a result of the current global financial crisis the money may have been lost although attempts are being made to recoup the cash.

Mr Cook said: “There seems to be an attitude on the council's overview and scrutiny committee that questions shouldn't be asked about anything.

“We are talking about an amount of money (£5million) which is basically £100 for every household in Ipswich.

“It is an important sum and a vital matter that I felt questions needed to be asked on. While the questions were probing I don't think there was any bullying or failing to treat others with respect.”

The bullying accusation follows a complaint made against Judy Terry, a member of the Tory administration's cabinet, earlier this year.

Ms Terry, responsible for arts, culture and leisure at the council, was asked to sit a code of conduct refresher course after a complaint of inappropriate language and bullying was made against her.

Labour councillor John Cook made the complaint against Ms Terry following an e-mail exchange between the pair in which she dubbed her fellow councillor “a disgrace” and “abhorrent”.

Despite asking for action to be taken, the sub committee said it made “no findings of fact” in relation to the case and had reached “no conclusion” as to whether Ms Terry had failed to comply with the code of conduct.


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