A ROW between two Labour councillors led to one being suspended for a month after she circulated "a libellous and untrue statement" in two emails.
Councillor Anita MacDonald (West Drayton) was reprimanded by a Hillingdon Council standards committee because of the "vicious, unprovoked attack" on Councillor Janet Duncan (Yeading).
The emails were sent throughout the local Labour party on June 22 and 23 and contained accusations relating to Ms Duncan's private life, in the context of a political dispute. They were also libellous toward former Labour group leader, Rod Marshall.
Ms MacDonald (pictured) has been suspended until January 13 and is forbidden from carrying out any of her usual council duties until then, which includes helping constituents.
The former parliamentary candidate issued a formal apology in October but it was not enough to avoid punishment. Speaking to the Gazette about the incident, she said her biggest regret was that she could not serve local residents.
"The committee had to act on the fact that I said some things that were rude," said Ms MacDonald. "I have always been someone who shoots from the hip in what I say."
She continued: "The most annoying thing is I cannot do the case work I wanted to do, I can't do any council business this month.
"There are a lot of elderly people needing my help and that has been the most upsetting thing. I am sorry to my residents from West Drayton for interrupting their ability to have a councillor represent them."
A meeting of the standards committee was held on Tuesday (Dec 13), at which neither Ms MacDonald nor Ms Duncan were present.
The committee voted unanimously to suspend Ms MacDonald on the grounds that she had contravened three different parts of the Members' Code of Conduct.
A written report published after the hearing stated: "During the course of an exchange of email correspondence with Councillor Duncan, Councillor MacDonald made a libellous and untrue statement about her and also about a former Labour group leader, Rod Marshall, which she copied to all the Labour councillors and the Labour group secretariat.
"Following the issue of a statement of denial by Councillor Duncan, Councillor MacDonald responded with an even more vicious, unprovoked attack on Councillor Duncan in an email which she also copied to all Labour group councillors and the Labour group secretariat."