Mayor of Blackpool quits after complaints over inappropriate comments
Blackpool mayor Ian Coleman has resigned from his civic role with immediate effect after complaints were made over alleged inappropriate comments.
Coun Coleman,78, was told to step down after being accused of making comments at an event in his capacity as mayor.
Three official complaints over comments made at the same event - two of them from organisations - were made to Blackpool Council, which investigated the claims.
He has now stood down just weeks before he was due to hand over the mayoral chains to his son, and current deputy mayor, Gary.
Coun Coleman, who has apologised, said he was 'heartbroken'.
Mark Towers, the council’s monitoring officer, said: “Following Coun Ian Coleman’s attendance at an event in March we received complaints in relation to unsuitable words being said towards and in the presence of young people.
“The complaints have been reviewed in line with the code of conduct procedure and Coun Coleman has accepted that he has breached the Code of Conduct for Members.
"As a result he will step down from his role as mayor of Blackpool, he has formally apologised to the complainants and organiser of the event and is committed to attending training in relation to equality and diversity.”
It now puts into question his role within the Labour group, which has been approached for comment.
The deputy mayor, Coun Gary Coleman, will continue attending pre-planned engagements until the end of the Mayoral year.
Coun Ian Coleman issued a statement via Blackpool Council, which reads: “Firstly may I say that I am devastated that I have caused offence to people attending the event.
“It was never my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I have always tried to make people happy but unfortunately on this occasion I did quite the opposite.
"I have spoken in a manner that has been taken in a way to cause offence and for that I am truly sorry.
“I have been informed by the leader of the council, the chief executive of the council and the monitoring officer that as a result I should stand down from my role as mayor of Blackpool.
"It has been an honour to hold this position and I am heart-broken that it has ended this way. I have apologised to the complainants and the organisation that hosted the event.
“Regrettably during my term of office my health has not been good. Unfortunately coupled with the fact that I am a carer for my wonderful wife, who has been hospitalised four times during my mayoral period, I have found myself exhausted and under great stress.
"Sadly this culminated in letting down the attendees at the event in question, to my great regret.
“On the day in question I knew that I was ill and under the weather but I didn’t want to let anyone down by not attending the event.
"In hindsight I know that I shouldn’t have gone whilst mentally and physically drained, but I did and now I must stand down from the position I love.
“May I take this opportunity to thank everyone that has helped me to make my mayoralty such a wonderful year.
"I have attended very close to 200 events since May, meeting many wonderful people, and we have raised an extraordinary amount for charity.
"I am truly grateful to everyone that has helped during my year and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”