A pair of Labour councillors have broken ranks to criticise the treatment of their ward colleague who was controversially sacked.
Coun Paul Kenny was fired from his role on the borough’s ruling cabinet after attending a meeting of groups opposed to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.
Couns Clive and Marie Morgan, who are fellow Winstanley ward colleagues, said the way in which he received confirmation of his sacking - via email - was “shocking”.
In a statement issued to the Observer, they said: “We would like to put on record our disapproval of the way Coun Kenny was removed from his position by the leader.
“Coun Kenny is an honest person of the utmost integrity ... his role as a cabinet member was to listen to all residents’ views across the borough and not just in this ward.
“The GMSF affects a number of wards and is currently a huge issue.
“Coun Kenny was attending the meeting with other councillors, residents and action groups. They all have concerns with the removal of the greenbelt.”
It goes on to add: “Lord Smith gave assurances at our ward’s Have Your Say meeting during The Deal that after the consultation it would be discussed further. What’s the point of a consultation if you’re not going to listen?”
Lord Smith said Coun Kenny’s actions in attending the meeting with members of opposition parties fell below expected standards of “collective responsibility”.
He added: “Paul Kenny had a specific issue in his own ward which I understood and respected. But I’m afraid he’s taken that further and been working alongside other groups in the borough, including political opponents of Labour to oppose GMSF.”
The GMSF is a major housing and jobs planning blueprint which has proved controversial for encroaching on greenbelt land.
Couns Clive and Marie Morgan added: “Wigan already has a core strategy which will runs until 2026 which protects the greenbelt and housing developments.
“We fully support Coun Kenny and will continue to campaign as a team in our ward alongside residents to object to the GMSF and protect our greenbelt.”