Former council leader reports rival over 'fat controller' jibe

Coun. Joe Cooney
Coun. Joe Cooney
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The former leader of the Pendle Conservative group has made a formal complaint against a prominent Liberal Democrat who he has accused of calling him the 'fat controller'.

Coun. Joe Cooney, who announced just last week he was stepping down as Tory leader in Pendle citing the local political arena as toxic, has submitted a formal complaint against the deputy leader of Pendle Borough Council, Coun. Tony Greaves.

Lord Tony Greaves

Lord Tony Greaves

The complaint regards remarks Lord Greaves made during the Pendle Council Executive meeting on Thursday March 15th when during a debate Coun. Greaves referred to Coun. Cooney as the "fat controller".

Although Coun. Cooney had been attending the Executive meeting, he had left before the remark was made.

He said: "When I stepped down as leader of Pendle Conservatives I said the atmosphere in Pendle was toxic and here is another prime example.

"Coun. Greaves chose to personally insult me even though I wasn't in the room at the time and hadn't made any comment on the item the Executive were discussing. There absolutely can be no excuse or mitigation for this type of language to be used by one elected official about another.

"I have submitted a formal complaint to Pendle Borough Council and I'm urging them to finally tackle this serious issue before it causing any more damage.

"Coun. Greaves needs to realise that this type of language is simply unacceptable and has no place in modern political discourse. It's clear he doesn't show any remorse for his constant bullying and personal attacks towards me and unless action is taken he will continue to say whatever he like as he knows there will be no consequences."

Pendle Council monitoring officer Philip Mousdale will investigate the complaint before deciding if any further action is necessary.

Coun. Greaves defended his his comment and said the remark was in reference to a photograph of Coun. Cooney at Colne Railway Station during a ministerial visit from Chris Grayling MP.

He said: "Coun. Cooney needs to calm down and stop being so damned pompous. It was a joke in relation to a picture of him hanging out of a train at Colne Station that was being shared on Facebook.

"Someone had mentioned that he looked like the fat controller, a jolly character from the Thomas the Tank Engine children's series."