Cllr Pugh denies accusation Steve Beynon threatened action against Island MP

Council leader Cllr Pugh refuted the suggestion that Steve Beynon had threatened the MP with action if he moved into the Riverside Centre, calling it a ‘false accusation’. On subsequent examination, it looks like the threats of action were against the Riverside, rather than the MP.

Riverside Centre

At the beginning of last night’s Isle of Wight council Cabinet meeting, Cowes resident Tanja Rebel (a regular at many council meetings) raised a query in relation to the Riverside Centre.

She asked, “My question is whether the Chief Executive (Steve Beynon), before he leaves, would be so kind as to answer why he threatened the MP with action for being at the Riverside Centre.”

Pugh: “False accusation”
This was immediately refuted by the leader of the council who was chairing the meeting, Cllr David Pugh. He stated, “Your suggestion is a false accusation.”

Newport resident Steven Goodman called out from the public gallery, “not according to the email he sent,” which was followed by Ms Rebel replying, “I saw the quote in the County Press, so are you saying the CP are lying?”

“I think if you want to look at that carefully and perhaps put that claim in writing, we’ll be happy to respond.” said Cllr Pugh, who then moved swiftly onto the next agenda item.

Beynon: “We will take action”
As cited by Ms Rebel, the County Press did carry an article about the Riverside Centre on page four of the paper on 25th January 2013.

The opening paragraph reads, “Papers leaked to the County Press reveal the IW Council’s chief executive threatened to take action if Island MP Andrew Turner moved into an office at the troubled Riverside Centre.”

Leaked documents
OnTheWight has also been shown documents surrounding issues at the Riverside Centre, including an email from Steve Beynon dated March 2011, the day before MP Andrew Turner moved into the Riverside.

In relation to the move, Steve Beynon wrote, “If this does happen it will be a clear breach of the lease and we will take action …”.

Riverside threatened not MP
On careful re-examination of the details, it appears Steve Beynon was threatening to take action against the Riverside Centre, not the MP, if the MP were to move his constituency office in to the Riverside Centre.

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Wednesday, 13th February, 2013 12:52pm



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. steephilljack

    13.Feb.2013 2:16pm

    Is the Conservative Council in desperate measures (meltdown)?
    1.Compromise agreements (pays-offs) for wronged staff to keep them quiet.
    2.Cllr. Lumley removed from Council chamber.
    3.Cllr. Welsford gets an official complaint preventing his access to sensitive documents.
    4.Steve Beynon threatens ‘action’ against the MP, or was it the Riverside Centre ?
    5.Termination of Council debates by the Chair.
    6.Schools in special measures. Other councils unwilling to help.
    7.Obfuscation over the PFI and asphalt plant deal.
    8.What else comes to mind….?

  2. mike starke

    13.Feb.2013 2:18pm

    OK, let’s rephrase the question to avoid the initial error:
    “Whether Isle of Wight Council chief executive Steve Beynon, before he leaves, would be so kind as to answer why he threatened the Riverside Centre’s management with action over the MP’s rental of office space at the centre?”

    I venture to suggest that Cllr David Pugh could have better served the true purpose of public questions and council answers at the cabinet meeting he chaired this week if he had courteously pointed out Ms Tanja Rebel’s mistake and answered the substantive point she was clearly referring to (see above).

    Instead of which, he gleefully grabbed the opportunity to sidestep an issue of public interest that called into question the chief executive’s assertion that he harboured “no hidden agenda” over Riverside Centre matters.

    However, as a veteran of public question sessions at council meetings presided over by successive political groups for many years, I have to say it is rare for a straight answer to be given to a straight question.

    Cllr Pugh seems content to carry on this cynical tradition set by his predecessors and political opponents, which – if he did but know it – only serves to reduce still further the credibility of the disfunctional clique he leads in County Hall.

  3. Island Monkey

    13.Feb.2013 2:44pm

    As ever, this disgraceful council dances on a pin-head to deflect attention from the actual issue.

    Their last days could almost be amusing, instead they’re quite pitiful. The bunker mentality has overwhelmed them.

    Poor Steve, last week blaming bloggers for everything and anything, now pretending that either his emails don’t exist or he’s confused about who his target was? Sorry Steve, it was you wot dun it, your dabs are on that email. Try not to forget it was you (on three grand a week) that said you could fix the schools and failed.

    Expecting David Pugh to answer your questions about who was being threatened at the Riverside is actually an admission that you were both involved isn’t it? How else would Dave Boy Pugh know off the cuff the answer about who was being threatened?

    Come on Dave, why not just do the decent thing and quit now, sparing us all the pain of another few months of this nonsense?

  4. Robert Jones

    13.Feb.2013 2:58pm

    Just as a matter of interest – was it a “clear breach of the lease” or not?

    This does rather illustrate the danger of asking these people the wrong question – all we’ve got is David Pugh sidestepping a serious question through a piece of pedantry you might describe as quick-witted, or alternatively as amoral and opportunistic. The issue itself goes un-investigated …

    Frankly, I should guess from the relative silence from the Riverside Trustees that putting an (arguably) party political office in the Centre IS a breach of the lease. But it’s typical of the island that all this is now shrouded in a fog – those questioning the Council don’t know the right questions, the Council has no intention of answering them anyway if it can possibly avoid it…. And yet again, the rest of us are left wondering what the Hell is going on here???

    • I’ve never felt comfortable that there is one, party political office at the Riverside.

      I suppose you could say that a sitting MP becomes apolitical, (does s/he?), so it doesn’t matter; but to put a Tory (or any other single party) at the heart of a shared, Island icon, seems to me like piggy-backing on the goodwill generated by the Riverside over the years, & unfairly spreading it over the incumbent MP, giving him an unfair advantage at the next election. I’m sure he could fund an accessible office elsewhere.

      I expect my own reasoning behind why I think he shouldn’t be there, is rather different from Diddums’, though!

    • steephilljack

      14.Feb.2013 2:04am

      The launch of the Independent election campaign happens on Monday 18th Feb. at the Riverside Centre, 6pm.
      Is this a breach of the lease or do the Indies not count as a political party ?

  5. Bystander

    13.Feb.2013 4:13pm

    Makes you wonder just how many toys crybaby Beynon must have in his pram

  6. adrian nicholas

    13.Feb.2013 7:31pm

    Given Benyon and Pugh’s response – can we therefore have an assurrance from Messrs. Benyon & Pugh, that a similar letter was sent to the Riverside management on contravention of lease, regarding the the hiring of a riverside room talk on tax avoidance -sorry efficiency given to Tory ladies by fellow Tory Cllr. Giles?

  7. For goodness sake- the comments made on this site are right but we need to persuade the Islands silent majority to get out on May 2nd and help us to get rid of the County Hall incumbents, they have proved beoynd any doubt that a) they are well past their use by date.
    b) they are incapable of listening to anyone other than their party spin doctors and boy blunder.
    c) None of them appear to know how to give an honest answer to a genuine question.
    d) they fit no definition of a democracy that I have ever read.

    Surely now is the time to get party politics out of County Hall and replace it with a genuine democracy that will honestly serve the needs and wishes of the Island and Islanders.

    • steephilljack

      13.Feb.2013 8:23pm

      It is time to get party politics out of local government, but I now think we need some protesting direct action at County Hall (or down by the Riverside)to make people realise what’s going on.
      It’s almost our duty to expose this bunch and save our local democracy.

  8. Julia Hill

    13.Feb.2013 10:01pm

    It is very worrying that the Council Leader does not seem to know what is going on in his own Council. The serious case review, the riverside. The Council is failing in so many areas. Please sign this petition for the resignation of Councillor Pugh launched today

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