NELC leader Chris Shaw branded a 'megalomaniac' by Hull councillor Colin Inglis over part in City Deal bid
"I AM not a megalomaniac. I am just defending the interests of North East Lincolnshire."
That was the response from council leader Chris Shaw to claims made by a Hull City councillor about his part in a joint bid to secure City Deal status for the region.
Labour's Colin Inglis, a former leader of the north bank authority, made the comments at a council meeting.
He claimed the four Humber authorities have been "fighting like rats in a sack" over the bid, and accused Councillor Shaw of putting the bid at risk by "displaying shocking megalomania".
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Cities minister Greg Clark was today due to meet the leaders of the four councils and representatives from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) on a visit to Hull.
The Humber is one of several cities or regions bidding for City Deal status, which would see more powers and funding devolved from Whitehall to local decision-makers.
According to Councillor Inglis, the bid has been undermined in a number of behind-the-scenes rows between the councils.
They are believed to have included demands by North East Lincolnshire Council leader Councillor Shaw for the City Deal bid title to not just focus on Hull.
Councillor Inglis said: "The four local authorities are fighting like rats in a sack over this and the leader of Grimsby is clearly mad because he thinks Grimsby is a city and will not give up on the idea."
However, Councillor Shaw dismissed the claim he was a megalomaniac, insisting he was merely standing up for the interests of North East Lincolnshire.
"Colin Inglis wanted us to have an equal share of the Humber bridge debt but now he doesn't want us to have an equal stake in the City Deal.
"He's got this impression that Hull is a schoolyard bully, but unfortunately they've met someone in the schoolyard who is not going to hand their dinner money over.
"Colin Inglis seems to think that Hull should be some kind of superpower. He wants to fill the void left by Russia.
"It is my belief he is having a rant and a rave because he was very annoyed that he couldn't be the chairman of the police and crime panel. If he wants to be critical of me he ought to come and be critical of me to my face."
Asked about claims the four Humber authorities were "fighting like rats in a sack", Councillor Shaw added: "That's not right at all. He means the other three authorities have come to an agreement and Hull don't agree."
But he insisted that Councillor Inglis was exaggerating the extent of the disagreements between the councils, adding: "Colin Inglis is an ex-leader of the council who is in his twilight years and this is a case of him trying to increase his profile in Hull. He is just trying to stir things up.
"We don't agree on everything because Hull is looking out for the interests of Hull and I am looking out for the interests of North East Lincolnshire.
"I am not a megalomaniac. I am just defending the interests of North East Lincolnshire."