CLAIMS of bullying following a sweary, threatening voicemail left by Greenwich Council's leader on the phone of a colleague will be dealt with by his own councillors, it has been announced.
News Shopper revealed the full voicemail yesterday (Oct 3), in which Councillor Chris Roberts warns his cabinet member Councillor John Fahy that, if he tries to delay decisions, he will lose his portfolio. Cllr Roberts ends the message by saying: "Get that through your f***ing thick skull, John."
The voicemail prompted an allegation of bullying against Councillor Roberts which was passed to Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander. She in turn passed it to the Labour Party.
But today the London Labour Party announced the matter would be dealt with by the Greenwich Labour Group - the very group where the bullying is alleged to have taken place and which is headed by Councillor Roberts.
Warning: This audiofile contains language by the Leader of the Royal Borough which some people may find offensive.
A spokesman said: "Under the Labour Party's rules and procedures this matter is being dealt with by Greenwich Labour Group."
As Chief Whip, Councillor Ray Walker - often seen as Cllr Roberts' right-hand man - will initially deal with the complaint.
He said: "The matter of an alleged abusive voicemail was reported to Labour Group officers and an investigation is currently under way.
"The Labour Party has procedures that cover such a situation and these are being followed. Obviously I cannot comment further at this moment."
In March, when News Shopper put allegations by Councillor Alex Grant that a "bullying culture" in the Labour Group was harming his health, Cllr Walker said he was "nonplussed" and was not aware of any such culture.
News Shopper understands the new allegation against Cllr Roberts would eventually be considered by a meeting of the full group, who would decide what action should be taken.
Among the options open to them would be the removal of the Labour whip and, therefore, the leadership.