A FORMER council leader has been cleared by an ethics watchdog over claims he shouted and swore at colleagues.

Conservative councillor Ivor Hyslop, who quit in October after six years leading Dumfries and Galloway Council, was investigated about complaints made by three fellow Tories.

The probe that was sparked after the alleged spat at a Conservative and Unionist Group gathering last summer also followed the resignation of seven Tory councillors from what was the ruling coalition with the SNP.

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Dumfries Provost Jack Groom, Ian Carruthers and his wife, Karen, Graham Bell, Peter Diggle, Roberta Tuckfield and Graeme Tait left en masse.

The breakaway ­Independent Conservative and Unionist Group was formed shortly before Mr Hyslop's stormy stand-down when he publicly ­criticised the faction, saying they had not raised their earlier concerns with him directly.

Mr Hyslop said at a ­council meeting that his opponents had displayed "cowardice and lack of moral fibre".

The new Tory group now has six members and the original camp, eight. Labour, with 15, was handed power as a result of the schism.

Mr Hyslop said yesterday: "There were various accusations made against me. It's not a nice thing to happen."