Bleakley faces quit motion

Coun Robert Bleakley
Coun Robert Bleakley
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CALLS for an under-fire councillor to resign will be put forward to Wigan’s council chamber next week.

Tyldesley representative Robert Bleakley has faced cross-party pressure to stand down after racking up a £2,400 bill for calls to sex chat lines on his council mobile.

Ruling Labour party members have now tabled a motion due to be read at full council calling for him to quit.

But former Lib-Dem Coun Bleakley, who also sent sexist and discriminatory messages, told the Evening Post he would not be “bullied or intimidated by a Labour lynch-mob”.

A petition has already been launched by angry Tyldesley residents also calling for their ward representative to step down.

And the motion, submitted by Coun Terry Halliwell and seconded by deputy leader Coun David Molyneux, reads: “This council believes that Coun Robert Bleakley has brought his elected office and this council into disrepute for serious repeated breaches of the members’ code of conduct, including using council provided facilities to access extreme pornographic sites. It is the view of this Council that he should tender his resignation with immediate effect.”

Last week the councillor remained defiant explaining he had received support from family, friends and colleagues, stating the messages were taken out of context.

He said: “This is nothing more than the continuation of long standing Wigan Labour mafia orchestrated witch-hunts and smear campaigns of lies and half truths that have been going on for more than a decade against a small number of effective opposition councillors. The witch hunts are conducted at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money and a huge waste of highly paid council officers time. The so-called investigations are a travesty of justice with the ‘investigators’ appointed by their own council bosses who are also the complainants.

“The council flagrantly ignores and flouts its own rules and procedures and I have not even been interviewed. If I decide to stand for re-election in 2016 the people of Tyldesley ward will be free to choose who they want to elect.”

The council chamber will vote on the motion on Wednesday although the local authority has no powers to suspend misbehaving members.

Coun Gareth Fairhurst, leader of the Wigan Independents group of which Coun Bleakley is a member, is yet to comment on whether he will be taking any action. He said last week: “I would like to see the full report first.”