The boss of Braintree Council is under investigation by the Conservative Party after a complaint was made about his behaviour.

Graham Butland, councillor for Great Notley and Black Notley, is understood to have been accused of using bullying, intimidating and abusive language during a battle for his job in 2017.

Fellow councillor Chris Siddall (Conservative, The Colnes) made the accusations last month in relation to a hustings event for the Tory group leadership last August.

The Times understands the complaint alleges Mr Butland used defamatory language at the husting event to attack colleagues who were set to challenge him for the top job.

He reportedly branded separate challengers “a boil that needed to be lanced” and “a cancer in the group that needs to be cut out” at the event.

Mr Siddall’s complaint is understood to have argued this language was unprofessional and damaging to the Conservative Party.

He also reported Mr Butland had used bullying, intimidating and abusive language and inappropriate behaviour at the hustings and other party events.

Mr Butland confirmed to the Times an investigation had been launched.

He said: “I can confirm that a complaint has been put in.

“I can also confirm I have strongly rebutted the accusations in my submission but I am not allowed, according to party rules, to make any further comment at this time.”

Mr Butland was first elected to Braintree Council in 2003 and became leader of the council in 2004.

He is also the Essex County Council member for Three Fields and Great Notley.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “We do not comment on ongoing investigations.”

Mr Siddall did to respond to our requests for comment.

Braintree Council confirmed Mr Butland remains in place as leader.