Grangemouth councillor guilty of making Nazi gestures at meeting

Grangemouth Councillor Robert Spears
Grangemouth Councillor Robert Spears

A war veteran councillor breached conduct rules by making a Nazi remark at a council meeting, a hearing has found.

The Standards Commission has ruled that Councillor Robert Spears breached paragraph 3.2 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.

The decision was made at the end of a two-day hearing in Falkirk’s Park Hotel on Monday and Tuesday. Mr Spears received a ‘censure’ as a sanction.

He was accused of being disruptive during a “heated” council meeting last May, directing a straight arm salute at Provost Pat Reid and saying “seig heil”.

Mr Spears said he did not make the ‘Hitler’ salute but did admit he made a ‘‘seig heil’’ comment.

Falkirk Council Leader Councillor Craig Martin said: “Councillor Spears has accused myself and colleagues of spreading malicious, and politically motivated, allegations about him but after the decision this is now the time for him to apologise to us and his constituents.

“If he had said sorry for his behaviour at the time instead of denying it we wouldn’t have needed a hearing, but it has now cost taxpayers thousands of pounds.”

Mr Spears said: “I am disappointed at the outcome. It was a throw-away quip which was apologised for at the time and later to Pat Reid who, on oath, accepted this. Labour member Dennis Goldie took it to the Standards Commission. All other witnesses apart from Craig Martin and Dennis Goldie heard the apology.”

A spokeswoman for the Standards Commission said the sanction applied to Mr Spears was “censure” and he will face no further action.