Houghton Regis’s annual town meeting gave spectators another dose of drama with accusations and profanity.
At the meeting at Bedford Square Community Centre on Monday, April 9, residents were given the chance to raise issues with the mayor, Cllr Joanna Hillyard, and hear the latest on upcoming developments in the town.
The three candidates at next month’s by-election for Houghton Hall, Roger Giugno (Time for Houghton to Be Heard), Yvonne Farrell (Liberal Democrats) and Alex Butler (Labour) were also present.
However, proceedings were disrupted after a dispute broke out when Mr Giugno accused the editor of Houghton Regis News Desk, Alan Winter, of being “under investigation”.
Mr Winter shouted, “this man is a f****** liar” and was reprimanded due to the presence of children at the hall.
During an uninterrupted five minute speech, Mr Giugno said: “It’s been well documented the lengths that other councillors have gone to try and undermine the great work and work ethic that Jo [Hillyard] and her hardworking councillors have done for this town.
“The amount of abuse and bullying, particularly from the Labour Party and the backseat hecklers, has been nothing short of a disgrace.
“The harassment of Cllr Hillyard and the council in general by Alan Winter has also been a disgusting act of bullying and one that Mr Winter is indeed under investigation for on two counts.
“As I highlighted on social media, Mr Winter has no rightful place misrepresenting our town council in the way that he does.”
After Mr Giugno finished his speech, Mr Winter responded to the accusation and quoted a compliance officer from Bedfordshire Police – who confirmed there are no complaints against him.
At this point, the mayor switched off Mr Winter’s microphone, saying it was “not appropriate”.
Mr Winter then swore and was reprimanded.