A FORMER mayor is to be banned from council meetings after an incident in which an elderly man suffered a sprained shoulder.

The motion was agreed at a meeting of Stockton's Labour group on Monday night, and the action will go through if members pass a motion at the full meeting of Stockton Borough Council tonight.

It follows an incident last month, when Councillor Keith Dobinson was allegedly involved in a scuffle on the floor of Stockton Town Hall after seeming to take offence to a comment made by a protestor.

As a result of the incident, 79-year-old George Richardson had to be treated in hospital for a sprained shoulder, shock and an injured finger.

Police are still investigating the incident and no charges have been brought against Coun Dobinson.

Labour group chief whip Kath Nelson said: "Having spoken to the regional Labour Party office, and in light of recent events and a number of complaints, the group has decided it's best, under the circumstances, that Councillor Dobinson should not be allowed to attend any meetings of the council or cabinet.

"Every member of the group has been aware that Keith Dobinson is a good councillor with many successes, but unfortunately, in the light of the recent incidents, things have not gone well for Keith.

"Keith goes along with this. It's all been done with his agreement."

If police investigations clear Coun Dobinson, the group have said they will then look at the situation again.

No thought has yet been given as to what will happen at May's elections.

Coun Dobinson was unavailable for comment last night because he was attending a conference