Ashfield MP complains about Ashfield Council leader over ‘moron’ comment

Ashfield’s MP has lodged a formal complaint after he was called a “f*****g moron” by the leader of Ashfield Council.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 8:21 pm

Lee Anderson, Ashfield MP for Ashfield, submitted the complaint to the council after being told the comment was made about him in a behind-closed-doors meeting.

Coun Jason Zadrozny, council leader, has apologised.

The comment was made during a meeting of the authority’s cross-party local plan working group, which met for the last time before the ongoing consultation on the draft plan ends.

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Lee Anderson, Ashfield MP, left, and Coun Jason Zadrozny, Ashfield Council leader.

The document, which sets out where large housing developments should be built in the district, has proved controversial and attracted public criticism.

Mr Anderson was not in attendance at the meeting, but was made aware of the remark afterwards.

During the meeting, members of the group were discussing bringing in Mr Anderson and Sherwood MP Mark Spencer, the Government’s chief whip, to help with the plan after a backlash against it from residents.

At this point Coun Zadrozny – who finished second behind Mr Anderson in the 2019 General Election – said: “I’m not working with that f*****g moron.”

Mr Anderson has since lodged a complaint to the council’s monitoring officer, describing it as ‘totally unacceptable’ and saying he believes Coun Zadrozny breached three parts of the council’s code of conduct.

These included showing a ‘lack of respect’, using ‘offensive language’, and not ‘leading by example’.

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Pressure

Mr Anderson said: “I know Coun Zadrozny has some difficulties getting the local plan together and he’s under a lot of pressure.

“But that said, my door is always open and I’m sure he didn’t mean what he said.

“In politics, you should remain professional at all times. I look forward to his apology.”

Coun Zadrozny admitted making the comment and apologised.

He said: “It was a private, closed meeting and we were talking about getting him and Mr Spencer in.

“I probably shouldn’t have used that sort of language and I apologise, I let myself down more than anything else.

“We should have a better level of debate.”

The comments come after the Ashfield Independents confirmed they will be pausing the local plan for a lengthy period when the consultation ends tomorrow.

The local plan is a long-term strategy setting out where new housing developments should be built across the district.

The plan has been met with a furious backlash from numerous resident groups over proposals for thousands of homes on greenbelt and greenfield sites.

Petitions with thousands of signatures have been submitted and residents have grouped together to oppose the plan. A motion is expected at full council on December 2.

The plan has been paused while the council awaits a Government review into the setting of housebuilding targets.

The current target for Ashfield requires 8,226 homes to be built by 2038, but Local Government Secretary Michael Gove described the current method of calculation as ‘out of date’ in Parliament last week.

It is unclear how long the pause will last, but Coun Zadrozny said it ‘could be six months, a year or longer’.

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