Thursday, November 30, 2006

Apple & pear bribery

A planning councillor has received a written warning after being given four apples and a pear on site visits. Middlesbrough Council's legal department warned Joan McTigue that accepting the fruit could have raised questions about her impartiality.

The independent councillor was given the "gifts" during three planning committee site visits, including one where she admired a pear tree. Ms McTigue has branded the decision disgraceful and pathetic.

The Beechwood ward councillor, elected in 2003, admits being offered a pear, four apples and two plant cuttings, during a number of site meetings with the council's planning committee.

She said: "It's so ludicrous that I have been given a warning. I take my job very seriously, planning in particular. I never miss a site visit. I admired the pear tree and the apples and I was offered the fruit, so it was polite for me to accept. Do they think I can be bought for one pear and four apples?"

She said that if she is offered fruit or cuttings in future, while on a site visit, she will ask the chairman of the committee to decide whether she might accept the gift.

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