AN investigation into a councillor who swore in a public meeting cost the taxpayer more than £1,500, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

Clacton UKIP councillor Peter Cawthron faced a standards hearing in October after failing to apologise for using the F-word during a video meeting broadcast live on Facebook last year.

After being sanctioned by the council for breaching the councillor’s code of conduct, he stood by his claim the F-word is “no longer taboo”.

He uttered the profanity after a discussion over plans to require public fireworks displays to promote a campaign about the impact of fireworks on animals.

Mr Cawthron said the swear word was “no longer perceived to be one by the majority of the British people”.

After failing to resolve the matter informally, the council’s monitoring officer Lisa Hastings made a formal complaint.

A report by external investigator John Austin said the investigation caused the council to “expend valuable resources” in officer time and the cost of the external investigation.

In his report, he said: “The correct course of action would have been for Mr Cawthron to apologise immediately. He failed to do that.

“Had he had done so, it would probably have been the end of the matter.”

Standards Committee member Nick Turner previously said: “A simple apology would have sorted it out but he choose not to do that. The failure to apologise is the issue.”

The sanctions the committee decided to impose included publishing its findings and reporting them to the full council.

The council said the external investigation cost was £1,500, but the figure did not include internal officer costs involved before it went out to external investigation.

Speaking to the Gazette, Mr Cawthron said: “I was wondering myself how much money was wasted on this pointless exercise.

“That money could have put a new bathroom in a council property.”

He previously stated he stood by his assertion on the evening that “the F-word is no longer the taboo it was in days past – it is now part of every day speech for most English people”.