FORMER councillor Paul Bartlett will retain his Alderman title after surviving a poll by Milton Keynes Council by a single vote to strip him of the honour.
Members met on Wednesday night to discuss whether Mr Bartlett should be stripped of the honorary title of Alderman – the first time in history such a decision would have been made.
The title of Alderman is usually awarded for long service to a particular service. Mr Bartlett was given the title in October 2006.
Former Tory turned Independent councillor Mr Bartlett, who resigned from his position on the parish council in Stony Stratford, hit the national headlines last year when he called for a bye-law to ban outdoor and indoor smoking in the town.
The controversial proposal helped fuel an alleged row with the landlady of the town’s Duke of Wellington pub, according to the Standards Committee.
The landlady claimed Mr Bartlett “bullied and harassed” her, made a highly offensive comment and threatened twice to get her pub closed down.
A further complaint came from a Stony Stratford art gallery, where the owner alleges she locked Mr Bartlett out of her premises because he was being offensive.
The Standards Committee found Mr Bartlett guilty of breaching conduct codes by swearing, shouting and abusing his position.
Mr Bartlett was absent from Wednesday night’s meeting.
At the meeting, former council leader Councillor Cec Tallack said that many people didn’t like Mr Bartlett, but that the proposal to strip him of his title was ‘totally inappropriate’ while many other councillors, many of whom had worked with Mr Bartlett in the past, said they would abstain from the vote.
Councillors voted 17 in favour of Mr Bartlett losing his title, though 18 voted against, with 14 abstaining, meaning he will keep the title for now.
“I feel vindicated,” he said on Thursday. “It was totally out of order for the officers to suggest stripping me of the title because it is not within their powers to do so.
“I have missed out on job promotions, lost girlfriends, missed holidays and birthdays because of the work I put in as a councillor, so to be awarded the Aldermanship was an honour for the people around me, not just myself.”