THE ‘rebel’ councillor suspended over allegations of bullying has in fact been sacked, a meeting learned.

The Chronicle revealed that Kim Gottlieb had been ‘suspended’ from a new committee that is seeking to come up new ideas for the Silver Hill development.

It followed complaints from senior officers that he had repeatedly publicly criticised them over the huge city centre scheme that his private legal action scuppered earlier this year.

But councillors at the overview and scrutny committee heard his axing was not temporary but permanent

Howard Bone, Head of Legal Services, said: “Membership (of the Central Winchester Regeneration Group) is down to Cabinet and Cabinet made the decision that Cllr Gottlieb would not be on it.”

Mr Bone admitted there was nothing in the council constitution for this scenario.

Cllr Gottlieb told the committee that his sacking was "news to him" as he had understood he had only been suspended until the standards committee had investigated other allegations against him.

He called on the committee to investigate: “Not just for my sake, but for the benefit of any councillor in the future who might have differences with the leader or chief executive.

“I can assure this committee that there is not a single shred of substance in any of the allegations made by the former chief executive (Simon Eden) but, even if some or all of them were true, there is nothing in any of them that remotely warrants the sanction imposed.”

Cllr Gottlieb accused his own group leader – Stephen Godfrey – of exceeding his authority and called on him his to withdraw the suspension. “I accept that I can be outspoken and that I can be challenging, but I believe that I have always been so in the pursuit of the best interest of the council. What I have not done is ever to offend or criticise any officer or member for personal reasons, and I have already assured the leader that I would never do so.”

Cllr Godfrey said his action against Cllr Gottlieb was taken following many concerns from senior officers and councillors.

He said the action “followed a substantial number of concerns raised with me from officers and members . . . that it was increasingly difficult to maintain the necessary professional relationship between officers and members involving Cllr Gottlieb.”

Cllr Kelsie Learney, chairman of the scrutiny committee, said councillors were not well-enough informed about a complex issue to make any comment.

After the meeting Cllr Gottlieb told the Chronicle: “I’m still not really sure if I’ve been sacked or suspended because the Leader and Mr Bone seem to be saying different things. What Mr Bone did make clear at O&S was that there is no protocol within the council’s constitution to suspend a councillor, so where we go from here I’m not sure, but it doesn’t look clever.”