17/04/2012 12:13 BST

Tory Mayor Jason Hadlow Accuses Veteran Councillor Majorie Simpson Of Assault

Police are investigating claims a veteran councillor punched a mayor in the face in a row over parking charges.

Grandmother-of-two Marjorie Simpson is alleged to have landed a "right hook" on the Conservative chairman of Yarm Town Council Jason Hadlow as they clashed in the council chamber.

Hadlow claims the farmer's wife, an independent, threatened that her husband would beat him up, then spat in his face before she threw the punch.

Simpson, who had opposed council plans to fight the imposition of parking charges in the town, denied the claims. She insisted she only tried to push Mr Hadlow away, acting in self defence, because he was shouting in her face.

Cleveland Police confirmed they were investigating the incident in Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees, last month.

Mr Hadlow said town councillors had banned Mrs Simpson from speaking at meetings until the criminal investigation is over.

The entrepreneur, who runs the Simply Dutch furniture and antique shop in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, said he was "stunned" to be attacked.

He said today: "She is completely out of touch with her electorate.

"When I pointed this out she became very aggressive. She spat in my face and hit me with a closed fist punch to the face, which was hard enough and unexpected enough to knock me off balance. I was absolutely stunned. I thought hang on, this is assault and I immediately shouted out because I wanted everybody to witness it.

"I telephoned the police then went to the station to make a statement. When I got back she had scarpered. To be frank, when you get hit, punched, and spat at, you think enough is enough. I want a restraining order. She is way out of touch with those who elected her and it's about time she was retired from the council chamber altogether."

"Hopefully, the police will do just that."

Simpson said she had been interviewed by police in connection with the incident and denied lashing out.

She said she raised one hand to ward off Hadlow, who she claimed was stood nose to nose with her and goading her, in a rage.

"I tried not to let him see I was frightened," she told the Northern Echo.

"It is a good job I have done ballroom dancing all my life, because if I hadn't been used to going backwards, I would have fallen over."

She said when she pushed Mr Hadlow away he shouted "assault, assault".

She said: "I was quite surprised when I went to the police station and they said I had punched him.

"He verbally abused me for what seemed like a long time and I just tried to get him away from me."

At a Yarm Town Council meeting last week, councillors voted 5-4 in favour of Mrs Simpson being banned from speaking at meetings until the criminal investigation was over.

The alleged assault came just days after a public meeting in Yarm about the possible introduction of parking charges by Stockton Borough Council.

Mrs Simpson had argued that plans to mount a legal challenge to the charges could end up costing tens of thousands of pounds.

A Cleveland Police spokesman said: "Police are investigating an alleged assault on a 48-year-old man that occurred on Tuesday 13 March in the Yarm area.

"Inquiries are ongoing."

This is not the first time that Hadlow has had to deal with the police. He was asked to remove a 4ft stone penis from his shop window after a member of the public complained. Hadlow was fined for "displaying an item liable to cause harassment, alarm and distress".