A TOWN councillor says he feels he was ‘bullied’ by another member into signing a letter while he was in hospital recovering from a mini-stroke.

Councillor Mick James was in Winchester hospital when he says a nurse approached him, telling him that Cllr David Coole was on the phone and had a letter he needed to sign.

The letter, backing a vote to elect a new mayor, was allegedly dictated over the phone to a nurse, who presented it to the hospitalised councillor to sign, before returning it to Cllr Coole.

Cllr James, who has since announced his intention to resign from the town council, says his head has been ‘all over the place’ after suffering a mini stroke and he feels as if he was pushed into signing something he didn’t want to.

Cllr Coole, however, says that Cllr James was aware of what he was signing and that the nurse would not have allowed it if he had not been in a ‘fit state’.

Speaking to the Advertiser on Wednesday, Cllr James said: “He said, ‘you need to sign this’, and before a certain date this month. I think it was the 20th. And, of course, with my head being the way it is I went along with it.

“The nurse wrote it out. It was a letter saying I approved of the mayor making.”

He continued: “I wish I hadn’t signed it now to be honest. It was only when Lauren [Banville] came around to see me that she said he was in the wrong.

“And that’s given me time to think – of course he’s done wrong, he should never have come to the hospital, he should have left things as they are.”

“To do what David Coole’s done, to be honest I think it’s a little bit disgusting. I feel as if I’ve been bullied now. I’m ill and I don’t need all this at the moment.”

Cllr Coole, however, says there had been an initial vote on the same matter in which Cllr James confirmed he was in favour of electing a new mayor.

The vote had to be re-held after the resignation of Cllr Kevin Farrer, but Cllr Coole says that Cllr James “confirmed that he wanted to vote the same way again but because he was in hospital, he did not have access to his email”.

Cllr Coole says he therefore made alternate arrangements after discussing the situation with one of the ward nurses, who enabled him to get in touch, have the letter dictated and signed by Cllr James.

He adds that he was then told to drive to the hospital, park outside the main entrance, call upon his arrival and the nurse would bring the signed letter down.

“If the nurse had felt Cllr James was in no fit state to understand and agree to what he was signing, she would not have agreed to it,” he added.