AN INVESTIGATION is being launched following a foul-mouthed tirade issued by a Teignbridge councillor in front of fellow councillors and members of the public.
Cllr Liam Mullone issued a string of explosive expletives at a meeting of Newton Abbot Town Council when the thorny issue of Queen Street was raised.
His behaviour shocked town and district councillors and led to calls for him to be barred from further town council meetings.
Since the meeting at the town hall, outspoken Cllr Mullone, of the South Devon Alliance, has been reported to the monitoring officer responsible to complaints and he will be subject to a hearing before the Standards Board.
Following the outburst in the council chamber, district councillor Phil Bullivant described Cllr Mullone’s behaviour as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘absolutely disgraceful’.
The temperature started to rise not long after the meeting began when, during the public participation section, as one person stood to speak, they were denied the chance by Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker as, under the rules of the council, the issue had not been given prior notice.
As the Mayor moved to the next item, the member of the public walked out in disgust.
But it was during the district councillors reports that tensions really flared.
District councillor Jackie Hook gave her report but it was a comment relating to Queen Street ‘smelling of pollution’ which sparked Cllr Mullone’s anger.
He described it as an ‘insane plan’ which was ‘just not right’.
He hit out at Cllr Hook saying: ‘What training do you have to stand on a street and say it smells of pollution?
‘I can tell you it smells of something, but it doesn’t come out of a car.’
His comments then descended into swearing.
He then turned his anger to the Mayor Cllr Corney-Walker who had been adamant the town council’s rules relating to commenting on reports should be enforced.
Cllr Mullone said: ‘And as for you, that chair with you in it belongs on a bonfire.’
Further comments were made that this had not been the first time such outbursts had happened and while everyone had an opinion, it should be done in the correct manner at the correct time.
Comments had been made about the scope of the town council’s standing orders with Cllr Alex Hall questioning how they might be changed to allow comments.
Cllr Corney-Walker had stressed that the orders were to give district councillors the chance to make reports but not for further debate or comment.
He said: ‘I am simply trying to run this meeting according to the rules and it would help me if everyone followed those rules.’
In the wake of the meeting, Cllr Mike Joyce announced his decision to resign from the South Devon Alliance.
Newton Abbot Town Council issued a statement following there meeting.
A spokesman for Newton Abbot Town Council said: ‘Members noted Cllr Mullone’s behaviour during the meeting of the Full Council and took a view that he should be referred to the Monitoring Officer.
‘Until any investigation by the Monitoring Officer has been completed, and its contents published, it would be inappropriate to comment further.
‘Our aim is that we achieve a level of conduct within the Chamber which allows the democratic business of the town council to be actioned, thereby serving the interests of the community.’