A HEARING into alleged bad conduct by a top politician has been dropped.

Derique Montaut (Lab, Central) had been due to face a grilling by the council’s standards committee, after deputy council leader Garry Perkins pointed to him being the source of a leaked report.

The former Labour leader was accused of disreputable behaviour and revealing confidential information.

But Coun Perkins has called off the case, despite already hiring a barrister to look into it, and has sent a message to Coun Montaut saying: “No hard feelings - that’s politics.”

Coun Perkins (Con, Shaw and Nine Elms) said: “I pulled it. It’s a personal reason. Derique’s no longer leader. He doesn’t need the pressure.

“There are very personal reasons.

“We all want to work for what’s best for the town. He knows he’s been stupid. He knows he got it wrong. And I like the man.

“It’s politics. It’s like rugby. I’d go out and kill anybody on the field for 80 minutes but then afterwards you go and sit in the bar. I don’t bear grudges.

“We all want what’s good for the town at the end of the day, even if we all have different views of how we actually achieve it.

“If we can’t work together as politicians it doesn’t look well for our One Swindon approach.”

The leaked report was scathing of the council’s handling of the Mechanics’ Institute debacle.

It accused it of worsening the state of the crumbling building, ignoring advice, and carrying out the repairs under the wrong piece of law, so effectively throwing away £211,040 in grant money it wanted.

When it was reported by The Adver, the paper did not disclose where it had received the information from.

But when approached, Coun Montaut freely admitted he had leaked it.

Coun Montaut, who has recently had an illness in his family, said: “My position on what took place is unchanged. I though it was in the public interest.

“I never believed it was a matter of private and confidential. I’ve never believed that.

“Garry’s been very kind in his comments to me. He recognises I’m under some pressure with my domestic arrangements.

“I’m pleased I’ve never been taken to standards. But I suppose I’ve been the most threatened councillor in history when it comes to standards.

“Of course I’m glad this issue has been withdrawn. I can deal with some issues in my personal life and get on with it.”

He also said dropping the case would have saved the council thousands of pounds.

The complaint was made to the council’s Standards Committee, under two clauses of the council’s Members’ Code of Conduct – Clause 4, disclosing confidential information and Clause 5, bringing the office of councillor into disrepute.