Council leader sorry after calling MP a 'f*****g moron’ over controversial housing plans

Ashfield MP Lee Anderson has lodged a formal complaint after he was called a ‘f*****g moron’ by Ashfield District Council leader Jason Zadrozny.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 10:07 am

Mr Anderson (Con) submitted the complaint to the council after being told the comment was made about him in a behind-closed-doors meeting.

Coun Zadrozny (Ash Ind) has since apologised.

The comment was made during a meeting of the authority’s cross-party local plan working group, which met for the last time before the ongoing consultation on the draft plan ends.

Lee Anderson, Ashfield MP, left, and Coun Jason Zadrozny, Ashfield Council leader.

The document, which sets out where large housing developments should be built in the district, has proved controversial and attracted public criticism, notably for it’s proposals to build 3,000 new homes on green belt land at Whyburn Farm in Hucknall.

Mr Anderson was not in attendance at the meeting, but was made aware of the remark afterwards.

During the meeting, members of the group were discussing bringing in Mr Anderson and Hucknall MP Mark Spencer to help with the plan after a backlash against it from residents, notably in Hucknall where a campaign group this week handed in a petition with more than 7,500 signatures from people opposed to the plans.

When the suggestion to bring the two MPs on board to help with the plan, Coun Zadrozny said of Mr Anderson, ‘I’m not working with that f*****g moron’.

Mr Anderson has since lodged a complaint to the council’s monitoring officer, describing it as ‘totally unacceptable’ and saying he believes Coun Zadrozny breached three parts of the council’s code of conduct.

These included showing a ‘lack of respect’, using ‘offensive language’, and not ‘leading by example’.

Mr Anderson said: “I know Coun Zadrozny has had some difficulties getting the local plan together and he’s under a lot of pressure.

“But that said, my door is always open and I’m sure he didn’t mean what he said.

“In politics, you should remain professional at all times.

“I look forward to his apology.”

Coun Zadrozny admitted making the comment and apologised.

He said: “It was a private, closed meeting and we were talking about getting him and Mr Spencer in.

“I probably shouldn’t have used that sort of language and I apologise, I let myself down more than anything else.

“We should have a better level of debate.”

The comments come after the Ashfield Independents confirmed they will be pausing the local plan for a lengthy period when the consultation ends tomorrow.

The local plan is a long-term strategy setting out where new housing developments should be built across the district.

The plan has been met with a furious backlash from numerous resident groups over proposals for thousands of homes on greenbelt and greenfield sites.

A motion is expected at full council on December 2.

The plan has been paused while the council awaits a Government review into the setting of housebuilding targets.

The current target for Ashfield requires 8,226 homes to be built by 2038, but local government secretary Michael Gove described the current method of calculation as ‘out of date’ in Parliament last week.

It is unclear how long the pause will last, but Coun Zadrozny said it ‘could be six months, a year or longer’.

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