A deputy council leader’s conduct is to be investigated after a complaint was made against her.

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Broadland District Council’s Jo Cottingham revealed yesterday she was standing aside from her role as deputy leader while the allegations are examined.

An external investigator will visit the council on Monday, December 17, to interview a list of people they have asked to see and produce a report.

Conservative Mrs Cottingham was accused at a full council meeting last month of claiming she previously wanted to get rid of a member of staff - who is now at risk of redundancy.

Liberal Democrat Barbara Rix claimed Mrs Cottingham made the comments to her at a book sale in August.

Mrs Rix said she later mentioned it to two Broadland officers. She made the allegations public at a full council meeting on November 13, but at this stage had lodged no formal complaint for Broadland to investigate.

But the Buxton councillor made a complaint against Mrs Cottingham on November 23.

Broadland’s monitoring officer Martin Thrower spoke to Alastair Roy, the council’s independent person, with both agreeing to bring in an external investigator.

Mrs Cottingham attended a cabinet meeting yesterday, although it emerged afterwards she was stepping aside.

She said: “It would be inappropriate to comment at this point.”

Her duties as communities and housing portfolio holder and deputy leader will be shared among her cabinet colleagues.

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