A COUNCIL has dropped an investigation into a complaint against its former leader.

Ribble Valley Borough's Accounts and Audit Committee decided that proceeding any further with the 20-month investigation into Ken Hind was 'not in the public interest'.

The probe was sparked by a November 2017 complaint alleging 'bullying' from Conservative colleague Cllr Sue Bibby.

Mr Hind, who resigned as borough leader in December, lost his seat on the council in May's local elections.

In October the Lancashire Telegraph revealed he faced a possible three probes into his behaviour.

The council inquiry was abandoned last week, a police investigation into alleged misconduct in public office was dropped in December, and a potential Conservative Party inquiry scrapped following the councillors' decision.

Cllr Bibby's complaint followed new council leader Mr Hind replacing her as planning chair in May 2017.

This led to the resignation of several Conservative councillors.

Following the decision, Mr Hind said: "I feel exonerated and vindicated.

"As the leader of the council I had to put the interests of the community first and that meant nominating the best people to carry out important functions.

"If placed in the same position again I would make the same decision in the public interest. She was certainly not bullied."

Ribble Valley Council chief executive Marshal Scott responded with a statement which said: "I can confirm there has been an investigation made into a complaint against Mr Hind by a fellow councillor that has been running for over 20 months.

"Mr Hind refuses to accept the conclusion reached by the investigating officer.

"For the past 12 months we have tried to hold a hearing into the complaint.

"In view of the fact Mr Hind was no longer a councillor and if found to have breached the member Code of Conduct any sanctions against him were limited, the committee agreed it was not in the public interest to carry on with the complaint hearing."

Mr Hind said:"In the 20 months it has taken Ribble Valley Borough Council to resolve this complaint I have been maligned, criticised and abused. My family have suffered huge stress. It illustrates that the complaints procedure is chaotic and unfair.

"One of my last acts as leader was a requirement to bring forward a reformed procedure to deal with complaints against councillors. The public are still waiting nine months down the line."