A council leader in Wales has resigned claiming he was the victim of ‘harassment and bullying’ by his local newspaper.
Des Hillman, an independent councillor on Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, said reports about him in the South Wales Argus had been negative and biased.
The Argus has denied the claims and praised its reporter Laura Doel’s “diligent and conscientious” coverage of the council’s affairs.
Cllr Hillman san a statement: “I have been undermined, the group have been undermined and the council has been undermined. I was trying to serve the office (as leader) and not destroy it.”
He did not identify which stories he was referring to or on what grounds he intends to report the paper to the PCC, but said that Mr Keighley “must take the blame for his staff’s reporting.”
Mr Hillman previously claimed an article written by Laura in August was untrue. The story was about a council debate in which he narrowly survived a vote of no confidence.
A report by education watchdogs in July found that the authority had been failing its children and led to a Wales Audit Office report into the running of the council.
Argus deputy editor Nicole Garnon said the story had been on-going for months and deputy news editor Laura had been conscientious in breaking the news first.
Said Nicole: “The South Wales Argus has not bullied or harassed Councillor Hillman at all. What we have done is report events as they have unfolded at Blaenau Gwent council over the past 18 months.
“We have published numerous articles since March 2010 when Councillor Hillman and the local authority’s former chief executive were reported to the Wales Audit Office.
“In July this year the council, under Des Hillman’s leadership, saw its education department being placed in special measures by the Welsh Assembly, after a damning inspection report found it had let down its children.
“We have always given Councillor Hillman the opportunity to answer his critics and in fact we are proud of the way our deputy news editor Laura Doel has covered this story. From day one Laura has been conscientious and diligent in her coverage.
“Councillor Hillman has said he is going to report us to the PCC, but we have not received any correspondence from him or the council requesting a retraction or complaining about any article over the past 18 months.”