Welwyn Hatfield Council leader jokes about the death of his deputy’s sister

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 February 2014

Cllr John Dean, leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council

Cllr John Dean, leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council


Calls for a public apology have come after the leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council made an “outrageous” joke about his grieving deputy.

Labour opposition group leader Kieran Thorpe has hit out at councillor John Dean after his comments at last week’s Cabinet meeting.

Cllr Dean had to chair the meeting after his deputy Alan Franey was absent due to his sister being ill.

After explaining why Cllr Franey was not there, the Conservative leader said “she has since died, in which case he could have come”.

His remarks were greeted with laughter by senior Tories.

Cllr Alan Franey, deputy leader of Welwyn Hatfield CouncilCllr Alan Franey, deputy leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council

Cllr Thorpe, who was not at last Tuesday’s meeting, said: “It is an outrageous thing to say about one of your closest colleagues. It was in bad taste.

“He should apologise to Alan publicly, as publicly as the insult was made.”

Cllr Alan Franey told the Welwyn Hatfield Times, he did not have any comment to make about the remark.

The borough’s chief executive Michel Saminaden was at the meeting, but a spokesman said: “Officers attend meetings of the cabinet principally to advise councillors on constitutional, financial or legal matters.

“It is not their role to comment on non-council related remarks made by cabinet members, including the leader who chairs the meetings, and it would be inappropriate for them to do so.

“A code of conduct for members is in place to uphold the way councillors act in their public duties.”

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