Leyland councillor accused of SLEEPING in meeting

Coun Derek Forrest has had a complaint lodged against him for falling asleep during a council meeting, which he denies
Coun Derek Forrest has had a complaint lodged against him for falling asleep during a council meeting, which he denies
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A Leyland councillor is vowing to keep both eyes firmly open after being accused of SLEEPING on the job.

Coun Derek Forrest, who represents Leyland Central and also sits on South Ribble Council’s planning committee, is fighting a complaint made against him by another councillor.

He denies falling asleep during an important planning meeting about the council’s draft masterplan for the Cuerden Strategic Site, which is a 65-hectare site set for development of commercial, industrial and leisure uses.

“It’s ridiculous if you can’t even close your eyes at meetings,” he told the Guardian. “But I wasn’t in any way asleep.

“I venomously deny that I was sleeping during council business.”

The Labour politician has described the complaint made against him by a Conservative member as ‘silly’, and wants to take matters into his own hands.

“There are new laws now which mean people can video and take photos in council meetings,” he explained. “I’m going to start taking my camera to meetings to see if I catch any of the Tories sleeping while on business.

“Two can play at this silly game. I want to turn this idiocy back on them.”

Coun Warren Bennett, who lodged the complaint, said: “I did want this issue to be dealt with privately. This is only the second time in my nine years as a councillor that I’ve made a complaint about another councillor.

“I’m disappointed Coun Forrest has spoken to the press. It isn’t my style to make a political point, but it’s up to him to answer to his own actions I suppose.”

Coun Bennett added: “He was quite clearly asleep and I’m not aware of any medical reasons for this, so surely the least you can do when you’re representing residents is to stay awake!

“It was during an important meeting about the council’s strategic plan, and it’s wholly unacceptable.”

South Ribble Council’s monitoring officer confirmed that a complaint had been received, but was unable to comment further pending enquiries.