Things turned ugly at a meeting of the Isle of Wight Council last night (Wednesday) — as 1 councillor said he was being bullied.
During the debate on the revised Isle of Wight Council constitution, Councillor Geoff Brodie initially proposed 6 amendments to the 275-page document, as what he called a ‘lack of consultation’ had allowed him to submit them earlier.
His first amendment, a change of wording to stop the interpretation of a point being used to remove councillors from committees by the full council and not their political group, was not accepted by council officers — despite a proposed change being agreed by Cllr Stuart Hutchinson, the councillor presenting the item.
It was explained by monitoring officer, Chris Potter, in his view of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, the amendment was not valid as it sought to negate the law and was not appropriate. Cllr Brodie said he did not think Mr Potter understood what the amendment was, but the change was overruled and chief executive John Metcalfe said a detailed explanation would be sent to Cllr Brodie.
The second amendment was then put forward removing the word ‘relevant’, when it came to the term ‘independent persons’ in the constitution.
Calling a point of order, Cllr Richard Hollis brought up the last full council meeting where a councillor made an ‘unfortunate comment and got chastised for it’ and asked whether there were two sets of standards for other members as “Cllr Brodie … can be rude to everyone and no one damn well cares”. He said:
“[I have] listened to Cllr Brodie telling people they don’t care, being rude to members about the process, being rude to the monitoring officer and has quite clearly made very little attempt to understand and ask questions about this beforehand which we are all capable of doing.”
Cllr George Cameron, chair, said they did not accept rude comments but it was up to the individual to make a complaint.
Cllr Brodie said he increasingly felt he was being ‘bullied’ by the Conservative administration because he raised things relating to democracy and asked the chair to get Cllr Hollis to retract his remarks, which he considered to be bullying.
When Cllr Brodie pressed for an answer, Cllr Cameron said Cllr Brodie had made a comment which was ‘not very good’ in a public forum and that it would be dealt with afterwards.
Leader of the council Cllr Dave Stewart, said everyone should act professionally and sensibly and that Cllr Brodie made a sweeping remark that brought in 22 Conservative councillors ‘who had not said a thing’. He said:
“That is the kind of thing to me that comes across as unprofessional.”
Cllr Brodie did not put any further amendments forward because of the way he had been treated. He said:
“This is an undemocratic council that wishes to railroad through this constitution and I will withdraw any further amendments. It is a sad day when a member cannot make amendments without being bullied by the administration.”
The constitution was later approved.