Disgraced Blyth mayor launches legal challenge after bullying row

Disgraced Blyth mayor Bob Parker has launched a legal challenge after being asked to stand down in a bullying row

Bob Parker
Bob Parker

A disgraced town mayor who had to stand down following a bullying row has launched a High Court bid to clear his name.

Coun Bob Parker, the former mayor of Blyth in Northumberland, was asked to stand down as head of the town council after a two-year investigation into claims he bullied the organisation’s clerk.

He is now seeking a judicial review of the council’s decision, branding the organisation “dysfunctional.”

The Labour representative was found to have told Sue Noddings to “obey his orders”, sent her an intimidating email and was confrontational and argumentative.

Following an investigation by Northumberland County Council’s standards committee, the town council’s own members chose to ban him from his post as mayor, as well as chairing all committee and sub-committee meetings for the next three years.

The county council’s standards team had suggested a 12-month ban and that Coun Parker undergoes training, but members of the town council, including some in his own party, voted for tougher sanctions.

The move meant he stands to be stripped of his mayoralty until the end of this term of election in 2016 although he will continue to represent his ward of Cowpen. His wife Margaret is also a town councillor for the same ward.

Coun Parker has previously claimed the sanction was disproportionate and that resolving the investigation will have cost the county council around £20,000 in legal fees.

Now he has revealed plans to seek a judicial review of the town council’s decision.

He said: “I can confirm that I have commenced litigation against Blyth Town Council and I hope this will act as a catalyst to focus minds on its ‘dysfunctional’ workings.

“I didn’t take this decision lightly and I will make a fuller statement at the conclusion of the litigation.”

Ms Noddings last night said she was unable to comment given she was the supposed victim of Coun Parker’s alleged bullying.

In January, Coun Parker, of Ryal Close in Blyth, said: “The decision last night was, in my humble opinion, disproportionate, as it went beyond the recommendations of a very detailed, comprehensive and expensive report. I am obviously disappointed that the town council could reach such a perverse decision.”

Ms Noddings, who has worked for the town council since 2009, said at the time: “It’s been a long process but we have been through the proper process and decisions have been made legally.”

During the extraordinary meeting of the council, five Labour councillors, two Liberal Democrats and one UKIP representative voted for the mayoral ban. Two Labour members chose not to vote.


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