TWO town councillors who are claimed to have insulted colleagues will face a code of conduct hearing this week.

Both Councillors Peter Yeo and Karen Tippins will face claims tomorrow, February 26, that they breached the councillors code of conduct during Shaftesbury Town Council meetings.

Last year Cllr Tippins described fellow councillor Matthew Welch as "an idiot" refusing to retract the remark.

Shortly after she describes him as "thick". In response to the jibe Cllr Yeo says “she’s got a point,” although he denies this was referring to the remark Cllr Tippins had just made.

Cllr Tippins says she was stressed at the time after the death of her mother and believes she was being provoked during the evening.

She claims the disciplinary hearing should have been stopped in the light of her later full apology to Cllr Welch.

An investigation by senior Dorset Council officer Jacqui Andrews concluded that there was a breach of the code of conduct: “At a very early point in the meeting when councillors were talking over one another in a heated exchange, the chairman muted all councillors and reminded them of the need to be respectful of one another and to respect each other’s views – a helpful reminder that the Code of Conduct should be adhered to during the conduct of the meeting.

“I am of the view that the body language of Councillor Tippins, when referring to Councillor Welch as 'an idiot' was aggressive.”

READ: 'Childish, unprofessional and disrespectful' councillors investigated after complaints

Cllr Welch was upset by the comments and later spoke to the town clerk as he was considering whether or not to continue as a town councillor.

The report concludes that both Cllrs Tippins and Yeo are in breach of the code of conduct by failing to treat Cllr Welch with respect:

“The name-calling by Councillor Tippins was childish, unprofessional and wholly disrespectful.

"Councillor Tippins failed to take the opportunity to apologise when invited to do so by the chairman and, in fact, added a further insult.

"Whilst in my opinion the breach by Councillor Yeo was mild as his comment was less direct, it was clear in my view that he was referencing the comments directed by Councillor Tippins at Councillor Welch and demonstrated a lack of respect for a fellow councillor.”

Cllr Yeo has maintained that his remark was taken out of context.

Cllr Tippins was also the subject of a public complaint that she was disrespectful to members of the Champions Football Academy during a council meeting which the investigating officer upheld, saying she had failed to pay attention to the council's guests.

A further complaint alleges that Cllr Yeo mouthed an insulting word at a fellow councillor, accompanied by a hand gesture. After he declined to apologise his camera and microphone were switched off.

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