More Tory “goings on”: Plymouth Deputy Mayor calls for new council leader to be suspended

Deputy Mayor left ‘devastated’ and calls for new council leader to be suspended after leaked ‘cruel and hurtful’ comments.

Tories fighting amongst themselves. Looks like it’s getting nasty, very nasty.

A third of the seats are up for election in May. – Owl

Carl Eve www.plymouthherald.co.uk

A city councillor said she feels ‘deeply hurt’ after learning that the new leader of Plymouth City Council compared her to Saddam Hussein’s notorious right-hand man, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri.

Conservative councillor for Moor View Maddi Bridgeman – who is still Deputy Lord Mayor for Plymouth – has now called upon the Plymouth Moor View Conservative Association to carry out an investigation into comments made by Cllr Richard Bingley which were leaked to the public via Twitter.

Cllr Bingley, who was voted in as leader of the council last month following a vote of no confidence was carried at the full council meeting, was heard to call his predecessor a “weak, two-faced git”. The recordings, understood to have been made in February, before the vote was taken, suggested that plans were afoot to oust Cllr Kelly as leader.

He also went on to compare Cllr Bridgeman to Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri describing her as Cllr Kelly’s “cheerleader” and “Nick’s best friend on rocket boosters”. He added: “You know when Saddam Hussein was in Iraq he had that ludicrous minister of the interior? … That’s Maddi Bridgeman for Nick Kelly.”

Cllr Bridgeman told PlymouthLive she had now written to Moor View association – who in January chose to reject Cllr David Downie’s request to be allowed to continue to stand as the candidate for Budshead – citing Cllr Bingley’s “cruel and hurtful comments” towards not just her but also other senior councillors. She said she called upon the association to suspend him “with immediate effect” or request he resign from the Conservative party.

In a letter to the association she accused Cllr Bingley’s comments towards her as “completely unfounded – to compare me with a mass murderer? His sexist comments about me being a ‘cheerleader’’? I am devastated, broken.

Cllr Bridgeman stated “I have worked hard for eight years. I have been professional and caring and have given everything to support my residents. I am receiving a tremendous amount of support from the residents of Moor View but how can I continue to work for a councillor that treats women and other members of the council with such contempt?”

Cllr Bridgeman, who has been a city councillor since 2014, said she has also asked for Cllr Rebecca Smith – Chair of Violence Against Women and Girls Commission – to launch a full investigation into this matter. Cllr Bridgeman told PlymouthLive: “This has deeply, deeply hurt me.

I have worked so very hard for my constituents, whilst also carrying out my duties as Deputy Lord Mayor. I have always been civil, polite and professional. “I was elected as a Councillor in 2014. On Tuesday, I was summoned to a meeting with Cllr Bingley and told that the cabinet position, which I have been doing for the last 11 months, was being withdrawn and given to two male councillors, both of whom have not even been councillors for a year.

He said that it wasn’t because I’d done a bad job, it was because it was considered too much for one person. “I’ve worked 80 hours a week for 11 months.

I’ve really put my heart and soul into the role. I wanted to experience exactly what it is our council staff do and what our residents need. I joined the refuse crews being a loader, collecting dog poo from the bins for five hours and returning to base absolutely stinking.

“I worked alongside the leaf blower crew in the city centre, starting work at 6am. I got back to the base and the team awarded me a certificate as “Councillor Qualified Blower” – while I knew they were having a joke with me, it still made my day and they respected me for being on the front line with them.”

Cllr Bridgeman said she has also been out planting trees and campaigning consistently since even before she was a councillor to get the airport open. She said she had also worked closely with neighbourhood police and the hospital to ensure the new multi-storey car park opposite Glenbourne was safe and secure and not a suicide risk.

She said: “I’m proud to have left a legacy of working incredibly hard and helping people – and then I’m dismissed as a mere cheerleader and compared to a mass murderer. It’s two-faced and it’s cruel. How can he be leader of the council when he behaves like this and makes comments about women like that?

If this is how he talks to someone on the phone he hardly knows, God only knows what he’s saying in the company of others who know him well. How can anyone have trust in him? He needs to resign with immediate effect.”

Cllr Maddi Bridgeman is up for re-election in the May elections. PlymouthLive has asked Cllr Bingley for comment. He has not responded to any of the requests.

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