Complaint over Hastings councillor’s conduct ‘a joke’

Liam Atkins at the Hastings Borough Council elections in 2014
Liam Atkins at the Hastings Borough Council elections in 2014

An outspoken Conservative councillor branded Hastings council a ‘joke’ after a complaint about his conduct three months ago.

Cllr Liam Atkins will report to Hastings Borough Council’s standards committee after a claimed breach of the code of conduct when speaking at a Save Ecclesbourne Glen meeting in November.

Deputy leader Kim Forward lodged the complaint against the Tory councillor.

The Conquest representative reportedly brought the local authority into disrepute at the meeting.

However, Cllr Atkins believes he did what was right.

“The leadership of this council is a joke,” he said.

“Only last week did they fail to defend their own planning department at cabinet, and now they are trying to shut down the debate into the planning department completely by referring me to the standards board.

“I was the only councillor to speak out about the failures of our local planning department, I dared to shine a light on the issues as they stand, defending hardworking local people who are being forced to pay out for the mistakes of this Labour council, and this is my punishment.

“Instead of standing up and defending their department, they’re simply playing the man and not the ball.”

Councillors voted to adopt two independent members of the public onto the standards committee at a full council meeting on Wednesday (February 10).

They could decide the fate of Cllr Atkins in the coming months.

The committee has a range of punishments at its disposal, including censuring and forcing an apology from members.

“This is simple, no matter the outcome of the investigation into my conduct, I shall continue defending hardworking people who deserve a council that works for and not against them,” he said.

“Ultimately, if Labour can’t handle the heat, they need get out the kitchen.”

The complaint claims Cllr Atkins breached many aspects of the code of conduct, including treating others with respect, disclosing information given in confidence, using your position to gain an advantage and using resources for political purposes.

The complaint also claims Cllr Atkins breached the protocol between members and officers.

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