Council leader Cllr David Pugh and Cllr Geoff Lumley.
A ROW at last night's (Wednesday) Isle of Wight Council meeting led to one councillor walking out of County Hall.
Labour's Cllr Geoff Lumley branded council leader Cllr David Pugh a bully, and the council undemocratic, after he was denied permission to speak on a point of order during the full council meeting.
The new council chairman, Cllr Susan Scoccia, adjourned the meeting to speak privately to Cllr Lumley, after he told her: "I have no confidence in you as a chair whatsoever. Are you going to allow this council to be undemocratic?"
Following their talk, Cllr Lumley left the building.
Cllr Scoccia said after the meeting: "I tried to tell him he could not respond in that way. I invited him to come back to the meeting but he did not want to come back."
*In a statement issued after the meeting, Cllr Lumley said he was enraged by what he described as anti-democratic and bullying behaviour by Cllr Pugh towards full council meetings.
He said he was trying to secure clarification from the chairman why councillors were considering a motion from Cllr Pugh when it was based on the draft statement of accounts for 2011-12, most councillors had not seen until 11.30am yesterday.
He said: "These accounts suggest the council underspent £2.3 m in 2011-12, when I have strong reason to believe that the actual underspend is far and away above that.
"I never got that clarification at full council as the leader hectored the chairman throughout my attempt to get an explanation as he clearly did not want that clarification to be given, probably because it was the showpiece of his evening."
Cllr Lumley said he had raised concerns about the lack of time for most members to view the accounts with deputy council leader Cllr George Brown and director of legal and democratic services Davina Fiore last Wednesday, but did not receive a response.
He added: "I raised the matter with the audit committee chairman on Sunday. He 'took my point’ in an email to me yesterday, but still appeared to me to be content to have his committee’s role usurped because he had had advance sight of the accounts."
Cllr Lumley said the underspend issue was massive for residents.
"Potentially many council jobs and aspects of council services could have been protected this year – and in the future – if they had produced a more balanced budget than one that is so far out.
"Consequently I wanted time to examine these accounts in deeper detail than just two hours.
"When this was prevented by the leader’s hectoring, I responded by calling him a bully and an anti-democrat.
"I refused to withdraw these remarks when requested by the chairman and continued to repeat the word 'bully’ when the leader then commenced the process of bouncing through his motion.
"The meeting was then adjourned by the chairman and I had a private meeting with her and the director of legal and democratic services and was warned as to my conduct.
"I explained why I was so unhappy, that the question of the underspend is too important to be whitewashed by the council leadership.
"The chairman said she knew nothing of my concerns in advance and asked me to return to the meeting. I declined as I wanted no part of this anti-democratic farce. People have lost their jobs, services have been cutback, and the leader will instead trumpet beach huts, street furniture removal and new signage.
"Those policies were not what I was elected to witness without protest."
Cllr Pugh said in a statement issued last night: "The majority of members have had enough of Cllr Lumley's hysterical outbursts at Council meetings.
"He clearly seems incapable of engaging in structured debate, and resorts to shouting and ranting at anyone who dares to suggest he should conduct himself in an orderly fashion. Gordon Brown would be proud of him."