Speaker of New Brunswick legislature to fight allegation of harassment

The lawyer for the Speaker of the New Brunswick legislature says his client plans to fight ``tooth and nail'' against allegations of harassment.

T.J. Burke says Chris Collins is devastated that an allegation has been made against him, and believes it may be a political stunt intended to keep him from running for re-election in his Moncton riding in September.

Burke says Collins has been given no information on the nature of the allegation, when it is alleged to have occurred, or who made it.

Collins voluntarily relinquished his administrative responsibilities to the deputy speaker on Monday morning.

The province's Progressive Conservatives say a full public inquiry would be the best way to look into the allegations of harassment.

Stewart Fairgrieve, the Tory member of the legislature for Carleton, says anything short of an investigation under the Inquiries Act would be a coverup.

Premier Brian Gallant announced last week that Collins was being suspended after a former employee of the legislative assembly was proceeding with harassment allegations against the Speaker.

Gallant then called for an independent, third-party investigation.