Council leader criticised for use of word ‘tosser’ but Fenland colleagues decide to take no further action

Cllr Alan Melton

Cllr Alan Melton - Credit: Archant

COUNCIL leader Alan Melton’s use of the word ‘tosser’ in front of young people put “a black mark” on a democracy day event, a fellow councillor told a conduct committee hearing.

“For any elected member to use that language is wrong,” Councillor Will Sutton told the meeting. “It was very unfortunate and I don’t feel it was appropriate”.

However the committee decided to take no further action after considering the evidence and hearing from Cllr Melton that he was “shocked and disappointed” to learn of the complaint.

He told yesterday’s hearing that feedback from the event at Wisbech Boathouse last October “was most encouraging and my personal feedback was superb, both on the day and through social media.”

He admitting using the word ‘tosser’ but said he only used in response to a male student who had previously used the word to describe a section of a video that had been shown.


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“He used the word and I incredulously repeated it,” said Cllr Melton. “I did find the comment rather amusing.”

Monitoring officer Alan Pain said the name of the complainant had been withheld because of “safeguarding issues.”

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The complaint also referred to Cllr Melton asking students from Sir Harry Smith School, Whittlesey, about proposed supermarket developments.

Cllr Melton said he only spoke about it since students had questioned him about the issue, talking of town centre impact and traffic concerns.

“At no time did I act improperly,” he said.

Councillor Michael Humphrey told the hearing that using the word ‘tosser’ was not “the best choice of word and reflects on the leader that he choose to use it.

“There can’t be many in the chamber that has not sometimes used an inappropriate word.”

Independent member Anne Hay said use of the word was “unfortunate” but the committee agreed with Cllr Humphrey who felt “any further action would be pointless”.

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