Spencer assault probe

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A POLICE investigation has been launched following a scuffle at last week’s local election count.

Former council leader Brian Spencer was led away by police following a fracas in the vote count room shortly after midnight.

Former council leader Brian Spencer

Former council leader Brian Spencer

Mr Spencer, who lost his Sutton seat to Labour’s Jimmy Jackson by more than 800 votes, was then consoled by colleagues away from the main hall and did not return to the count.

No arrests were made but an assault probe has now been launched.

It has since been claimed the fracas was sparked by disparaging comments about a female Lib Dem party member.

Ex deputy Lib Dem leader, Suzanne Knight, who also lost her seat, alleged Mr Spencer reacted to comments made about her.

She said: “I didn’t see what happened but I’m told that comments were made about me. Labour party members had been making comments to me all night, trying to wind me up but Brian is more volatile than I am.

“Apparently someone said something to Brian along the lines that defeating me was the sweetest victory of the night for them.

“He turned around and replied that I was a good councillor who’d worked hard for for Newton and that I didn’t deserve to lose.

“That sparked a reaction and they started goading him from there. It was very unpleasant.”

Ms Knight, who had been a councillor in Newton for 21 years, added: “I used to have respect for the local Labour group - but no more. Over the last couple of years I have completely lost respect for them.

“All night at the count there were people coming up to me, goading me, saying I was going to lose. It’s awful.”

But a Labour spokesman denied party members had provoked the ex-council boss, adding: “It is a terribly sad ending to Brian Spencer’s political career – firstly he was rejected by the residents of Sutton and then he was ejected from the town hall by St Helens police.”