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'IRA' complaint referred to town hall monitor

Coun Simon Blackburn
Coun Simon Blackburn
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A complaint following a comment made by Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn has been referred to the authority's independent monitoring officer.

A complaint following a comment made by Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn has been referred to the authority's independent monitoring officer.

Coun Debbie Coleman had written to the council's chief executive to raise concerns after Coun Blackburn referred to a new group of independent councillors as the 'IRA' .

A town hall spokesman said the issue would now be considered internally in relation to what action might be taken.

If any wrongdoing is found, action could include making an apology at full council, referring the matter to the council's standards committee or referring it for an external investigation.

Coun Blackburn made the remark during a meeting of the full council when the formation of the Independent Blackpool Residents Group was announced.

The group is made up of former Labour councillors Ian Coleman, Gary Coleman and Debbie Coleman.

Coun Blackburn said he was “happy to propose” his report “and welcome the formation of the IRA.”

In response to the concerns, Coun Blackburn said his comment was a “light hearted play on words”.

He added: “I was making a point about the sheer ineptitude of the naming of the new political group. “