Filton councillor Bill Moore quits Labour group amid bullying row
A COUNCILLOR has denied claims of bullying after a colleague quit his party group.
Roger Hutchinson, who represents Filton on South Gloucestershire Council, said he "wholeheartedly" disputed suggestions that a discussion he had with Filton town councillor Bill Moore constituted bullying "in any way, shape or form".
The row was made public when Mr Moore, pictured, dramatically quit the town council's Labour group during a meeting.
The 46-year-old, of Mackie Road, only joined the town council last year but since then has served as chairman of the finance committee.
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Mr Moore was re-elected as chairman in a committee meeting on Tuesday night, when he received votes from fellow Labour councillors.
But he then announced he was resigning from the Labour group with immediate effect.
Mr Moore claimed this was due to private discussions about residents and town council matters taking place at Labour party meetings, that were not minuted or recorded.
He told the meeting: "I was also accused of doing something by a Labour councillor that I did not do and was left to defend myself at a branch meeting without the chairman, Councillor Brian Mead, intervening. It amounted to bullying, which I will not be party to."
A resident who attended the meeting but did not want to be named told the Post: "Councillors looked on in shock as the meeting was moved on to the next agenda point."
The resident claimed it was "well- known around town" that Mr Moore was referring to Mr Hutchinson, a former town council chairman.
It is believed the bullying claims relate to an accusation by Mr Hutchinson that Mr Moore had posted comments about him on a website.
Mr Moore did not want to elaborate on the matter but said he would still be serving as a Labour member of the town council, despite not being a member of the Labour group. Mr Hutchinson denied the claim of bullying and said he had simply had a discussion with Mr Moore at a Labour group meeting in front of other members.
"This was not bullying in any way, shape or form," he said. "There is nothing in the allegation and I wholeheartedly dispute it.
"If you can't discuss an issue without someone accusing you of bullying, then something is very wrong. With regard to the allegation of talking about residents behind their backs, I would say that this has been totally exaggerated. As a political party, like all the others, of course we do talk about local issues and take the views of residents into consideration – it does not mean we are talking about anyone behind their backs."
Filton Town Council chairman Adam Monk said: "I am really glad Bill is staying on as a councillor. He has done a fantastic job as chairman of the finance committee and I will continue to support him."
Labour group chairman Mr Mead declined to comment.