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Town councillors vote no confidence in one of their members after ‘disarray’

PUBLISHED: 10:40 04 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:41 04 January 2019

Sheringham town councillor Peter Cox. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

Sheringham town councillor Peter Cox. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

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Town councillors in Sheringham have passed a vote of no confidence in one of their number after allegations of bullying and a previous meeting which ended in “disarray”.

Sheringham mayor Madeleine Ashcroft, left, with deputy mayor Liz Withington. 
Photo: KAREN BETHELLSheringham mayor Madeleine Ashcroft, left, with deputy mayor Liz Withington. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

But the councillor in question, 69-year-old Peter Cox, has vowed to fight on as a member of the council and has declared the vote “illegal”.

At an extraordinary meeting on Thursday (January 3) councillors voted, in private, for the motion of no confidence in Mr Cox by eight to two, with two abstentions.

It followed a vote of confidence in mayor Madeleine Ashcroft and deputy mayor Liz Withington, which was passed by nine votes in favour with one abstention.

The votes came after a December budget meeting which Mrs Ashcroft said “ended in disarray” because of comments Mr Cox made which were “completely derogatory”, and allegations of bullying by Mr Cox which resulted in a complaint being made in the summer to the monitoring officer at North Norfolk District Council, which was not upheld.

Mrs Ashcroft said Mr Cox had also sent “vile” letters to her and others.

Speaking after the meeting, Mrs Ashcroft said she hoped the votes would be a wake-up call for Mr Cox, and that the council could now move in a “positive direction”.

She said: “This was to show that we won’t tolerate his behaviour towards women and the other councillors who disagree with him.

“We wanted to make sure that his behaviour improved because we’re not prepared to accept it anymore.

“We just want to move forward and get things done for the town and we felt that he was stopping that.”

MORE: The future is bright and exciting for Sheringham, says new town mayor

Mr Cox did not attend the meeting, but said later the mayor and deputy mayor were not acting in the best interests of the town or council.

He said: “They just want to persecute someone who has spoken against them. They think that by doing this they can silence me and victimise me. They have caused a lot of problems for the councillors and also the council staff. I’m totally fed up with the way they’re acting.”

Mr Cox said he would remain on the council despite the vote.

He said: “I will continue to be a voice of common sense and they will not stop me from criticising them when necessary.”

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