A DEPUTY council leader will face a standards hearing over complaints he kicked a town hall door during a meeting.

It is also alleged Pendle's Cllr David Whipp shouted at a rival councillor during a meeting about leisure centres.

The Liberal Democrat representative is accused of breaking the authority’s code of conduct in October 2022 and last July.

Two reports have been written by independent officer Sue Ward.

In the first complaint, four Pendle Tory councillors, David Albin, Jenny Purcell, Ash Sutcliffe and Kevin Salter accused Cllr Whipp of kicking a Nelson Town Hall door during an October 2022 full council meeting.

They claim he kicked open a council chamber door when Cllr Albin was closing it after some councillors had left, but the meeting was ongoing. They claimed Cllr Whipp showed ‘physical disregard’ when Jenny Purcell tried to shut the door, that his actions caused pain to Cllr Albin’s hand and arm and he also banged Jenny Purcell’s hand and nearly pushed her to the ground.

The investigator has found Cllr Whipp did breach the code of conduct, by showing ‘disrespect’ towards Cllrs Albin and Purcell by using ‘unnecessary, unwarranted and unreasonable force’, and ‘callous disregard for their personal safety and wellbeing’, when opening the council chamber door after they had closed it.

Ms Ward adds: “Cllr Whipp stated he did not kick the door open. He tried to open it by the handle and felt resistance. It would not push down. He states he pushed down with one hand and pushed the door with his other hand. That he did not apply force. When he pushed the door a second time, there was no resistance. The door ‘flew’ open. There was no resistance and that is why it opened as it did.”

But the report adds: “Our conclusion is the actions of Cllr Whipp, when forcibly opening the door, after David Albin and Jenny Purcell had closed it, with no consideration to the safety and wellbeing of his fellow councillors and without justification, amounts to failing to treat fellow councillors with respect.”

The second complaint against came from Cllr Ash Sutcliffe about a July 2023 Pendle executive meeting during a leisure centres review debate.

It was alleged Cllr Whipp subjected Cllr Sutcliffe to intimidating behaviour by speaking in a derogatory way and shaking large sheets of A3 paper very close to his face while shouting.

Cllr Sutcliffe wrote: ‘I said the information being given by Cllr Whipp was a misrepresentation of the facts, regarding the steer given to the consultants. and said no steer had been given other than to consider all options. Cllr Whipp started shouting, saying I was lying and trying to twist the truth. His shouting was very heated

“I asked the chairman, Asjad Mahmood, whether I may continue speaking. Cllr Mahmood did not immediately respond and Cllr Whipp stood up, threw his chair back in a huff, and walked towards me.

“I was sitting approximately 10-12 feet away from where Cllr Whipp was sitting. He approached me and held the A3 paper very close to my face and shook it from side to side. He shouted ‘Can you not read? Can you not read what you’ve done?’ and ‘This is what the Conservative administration have done.

“I was not a part of the leisure [centre] review. Cllr Whipp was clearly very angry, his face was contorted with rage. I was very shocked by his behaviour towards me and was shaking. It is very rude and disrespectful to suggest that I could not read. And interrupting my right to speak is not only disrespectful but also embarrassing, belittling, and upsetting.

“Cllr Whipp’s aggressive physical reactions in the council chamber are disconcerting, unnerving, and extremely unpleasant for everyone who is present.”

The investigator said Cllr Whipp did not engage with the second investigation.

It concludes: “The allegation against Cllr Whipp, that he breached the code of conduct by disrespecting Ash Sutcliffe, can be seen to have been confirmed. The code states disrespect includes personal attack, harassment and bullying.”

Cllr Whipp’s behaviour created an unpleasant and intimidating situation for Ash Sutcliffe by his unnecessary verbal and physical conduct. It amounted to disrespect, the investigator found.

The council's standards committee is being asked to consider what should happen next over the conduct breach findings when it meets at Nelson Town Hall on Monday.