Labour calls for the Conservatives to suspend a controversial election candidate over “bullying, harrassment and intimidation” have been met with derision.
City Alderman Paul Bartlett is a Tory candidate in Stony Stratford ward for the Milton Keynes Council elections on May 2, and has a colourful history, including homelessness and sleeping rough in his car in 2015.
Alderman Bartlett, who was awarded the honorary title for being a councillor for 16 years, has been hauled over the coals more than once for cases of bullying and harassment.
He also avoided, by one vote, an attempt to remove his Alderman title, in 2012.
But the Conservatives hit back, saying Labour had previously selected a former Nazi, Margaret Burke, who won a seat on the council in 2012.
Cllr Peter Geary, Alderman Bartlett’s election agent, said: “We won’t take lessons from Labour over our candidates when they selected someone who used to be a Nazi.
“I got on well with Margaret Burke – she had made a mistake. Paul has a long history of working for the people of Stony Stratford as a borough and a town councillor. He works hard to get things done."
"And if he had been bullying, intimidating, and harassing people, he would not have been elected time and time again.
"Paul is a passionate councillor who perhaps says things in a way that others do not like, but it is because he is getting things done for the people who elected him."
Cllr Geary added: "During a five year period, Paul Bartlett was treated for a brain tumour, which affected his behaviour, but medical evidence was not taken into consideration at his hearings."
A spokesperson for Milton Keynes Labour said: “Mr Bartlett has a history of very serious complaints against him being upheld. These are not small matters.
“They include two cases of threatening small businesses to use his influence to destroy them, several cases of bullying, intimidation and threats, and of him misusing his honorary title of Alderman to make those threats.”
“How can the MK Tories believe he is fit to be elected to a position of responsibility in the community?
“In case anyone thinks Mr Bartlett has turned over a new leaf, only at the end of last year was he subject to yet another upheld complaint about bullying and harassment.
“The Tories have questions to answer over why they think a man with a history of bullying, intimidation and harassment is fit to serve as a councillor?
“Paul Bartlett is not fit to stand for election, and it highlights the chaos in the Tory Party at the moment that they could even select such a person. It further calls into question their judgement if he remains on the ballot paper.”
The full list of candidates standing for the Stony Stratford set on Milton Keynes Council are: Paul Bartlett (Conservatives); Ann Cryer-Whitehead (Labour and Cooperative); Richard Michael Greenwood (Lib Dem); Peter James Hughes (Green Party); Jeff Wyatt (UK Independence Party).