Tory leader snubs order to say ‘sorry’

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County Council leader Jennifer Mein could be forced to seek legal advice after she failed to get a public apology for “unfounded” allegations made against her by opposite number Geoff Driver.

Coun Driver was ordered by the authority’s conduct committee to say “sorry” yesterday for claims he made about a holiday Coun Mein took in Mauritius.

Defiant: Coun Driver tells the council: 'I have no intention of apologising'

Defiant: Coun Driver tells the council: 'I have no intention of apologising'

But amid rowdy scenes at a meeting of the full council, Coun Driver declared: “Nobody in this council chamber will be surprised to hear that I have no intention of apologising for highlighting the shameful facts facts surrounding this case.”

There was uproar as he tried to go further, with chairman Coun Kevin Ellard ordering him to “sit down” four times.

Coun Driver ignored the instruction and continued: “It is the leader of the county council who should apologise to the people of Lancashire for this appalling abuse of power.”

Finally Coun Ellard stormed: “If you don’t wish to sit down councillor, will you pay attention. You were instructed to give an apology, you have advised us you don’t intend to issue an apology, so that is an end of the item.”

It was the second time this year that Coun Driver had flatly refused to apologise to a fellow councillor after being found in breach of the authority’s code of conduct which was introduced by the previous Tory administration under his leadership.

Labour deputy leader David Borrow commented: “Coun Driver had made a number of unfounded allegations against a councillor and was required to apologise.

“It is unfortunate that he was yet again unable to abide by the recommendations of the committee.

“This is the second time within 10 months that Coun Driver has been required to apologise to councillors for his behaviour. Is it a case of three strikes and you’re out?”