A COUNCILLOR has been forced to defend himself over claims he was bullying a cabinet member.

The claim was made by Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for communities, claimed she was getting tired of Cllr Richard Udall's "bullying" during a debate over £405,000 cuts to the council's archive and archaeological services.

At a full meeting of Worcestershire County Council on Thursday (January 17), Cllr Hodgson said: “I can’t support what you’ve said. I can’t support your bullying.

“Everywhere we go we seem to have a similar comment and it’s getting a bit tiring now.

“We are trying to do our best and I’m sorry but there is a line. Everywhere I go I seem to get a similar message.

“I’m hearing what you’re saying but unfortunately I can’t support that.”

But Cllr Udall said he respects the cabinet member but it is his job to challenge her and should expect him to respond when massive cuts are being made.

He said: “I have been her Labour shadow for a number of years, I have always thought we have worked well together, but it is my job to question, challenge and hold her to account.  

“She is threatening the future of our libraries, she is cutting the archives and is responsible for the proposal to impose parking charges at Worcester Woods.  

“I have always been respectful but I will always be firm in my response to her proposals, she should not expect anything else.

“I am no bully, however, I do care about public services, I will work with her when appropriate and I will question, criticise and hold her to account when needed. She should expect more of the same from me.

“I will continue to do my job, respectfully but firmly.”

The archive's budget falls into Cllr Hodgson's portfolio as cabinet member for communities as does the consultation on the county's library service.

Cllr Udall has been a strong opponent of both plans particularly with St John's library coming under threat after ranking low on a council study of library need.

An amended Labour motion which stated the council would “endeavour to” protect the archive and archaeological service was eventually passed at a full meeting of the county council on Thursday (January 17).