David Pugh on Cowes Enterprise: I’m not publicly accountable anymore

Following calls for him to return be asked questions about Cowes Enterprise College, the ex-Leader of IWC gives his reasons why he won’t be taking up the offer.

David Pugh

As OnTheWight reported last week, there was some discussion at the Isle of Wight council’s Scrutiny Committee about the Cowes Enterprise College project.

While Cllr Richard Priest was not keen that council officers should be held accountable for the series of problems which have beset the school at an Inquiry, he did like the idea of asking the previous head of the council,
Steve Beynon and ex-leader of the council, David Pugh (who Cllr Priest unseated in the 2013 elections) to come back to be questioned.

David Pugh responds
OnTheWight got in touch with David Pugh to find out his reaction. He sent the following as a response:-

“I stopped being publicly accountable when I ceased to hold public office in May 2013. That is a consequence of Richard Priest replacing me as the councillor for Shanklin South. I will therefore not be attending any meetings.

“It is for the independent leadership of the Council to explain on what grounds they exonerated the two senior officers on whose watch this major project was not delivered on time, on budget or fit-for-purpose, leaving this legacy of problems.

“Given that these officers were in receipt of undisclosed sums of public money when they were cleared, I am surprised that the Independent administration at County Hall did not require them to be publicly accountable for explaining what went wrong.”

Steve Beynon has been in touch with the CP, advising that he also would not be returning to the Isle of Wight to be held accountable.

Monday, 7th April, 2014 7:59pm


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2bNQ

Filed under: Cowes, Education, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, School Reform, Top story

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

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37 Comments on "David Pugh on Cowes Enterprise: I’m not publicly accountable anymore"

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They were not accountable when they were here, so what chance now they’re gone ?

It’s always the officers’ fault, not the man in charge.

Ask Pugh how he thinks the school re-organisation turned out and see who he blames.


It is true that he is no longer publicly accountable. However, were there to be any future litigation or public inquiry about any of his actions when he was in the council then he would remain accountable to the Courts and the public.

Let’s all wish him the very best for his future career.

Better Red than Bled

it would make a good addition to his wikipedia entry, that he doesn’t think elected people are accountable for waht they do in office!

Oh yes steephilljack, I fully agree. He was never accountable when he was in office, why should he suddenly start doing the decent thing now? The man doesn’t know the meaning of the word. A whole generation of island children will have their education ruined because of this man’s vanity and absolutely colossal overestimation of his own strategic abilities. Maybe they can go and knock on his… Read more »
Highway to Hell

What a bl**dy pathetic response to a deal he signed off during his time in the big chair.

I didn’t realise that people stopped being accountable for their actions when they changed role. I guess Mr Pugh has different rules for his life vs people like, say, war criminals and anyone else taken to court for something they did in the past… At least he has a valid line of reasoning for why such terrible decisions were made in the life of the last council… Read more »
Mason Watch
The Boy Pugh is of course accountable but in his world responsibility can be shrugged off because he lost. We should all retain a memory of this when and if he ever is tempted to return to public office. The education system for the Island will take years to recover from his mismanagement. The lessons (!) to be learnt here are numerous but let’s hope he never… Read more »

So a man isn’t responsible for his children if he gets divorced as he no longer holds the office of husband.


“Steve Beynon has been in touch with the CP, advising that he also would not be returning to the Isle of Wight …”. That would be ‘advising’ in two words, I’m guessing.

dodgy didger

As Nixon said;
“If the President does it, it’s NOT illegal!…”


The people who are accountable are the ones that voted him in. Now he has been voted out it should be the end of.

retired Hack
Either Pugh has abandoned any hope of resuming a political career, not just on the island but anywhere; or else he has just made a very, very damning admission. He can, and has, expunged all references to education from websites over which he has control. But saying: “I’m a man who’s completely unabashed about walking away from spectacular failure,” which is in effect what he has said,… Read more »
Black Dog
@Retired Hack. I believe that the Independent Administration continues in the same footsteps as the last lot with almost blind belief that the monotring officer’ abilities. There appears to be a distinct lack of commitment and commercial acumen in almost every sector of this administration. The time has come for the Independents to start performing or move on. They are all like headless chickens all pecking at… Read more »

Is Cratus Communications watching this development?Should businesses be aware? Not very good PR for them?


I wouldn’t mind betting that CCHQ remembers the faux pas when compiling its lists of national candidates for the 2015 Westminster election and acolytes of any future Tory government.

Albert Street

I would have thought Wightlinks owners were not pleased with his comments. Rumour has it that he has a position with them advising on something or the other.

One has to ask why?

Beyond Belief

I am dumbfounded. The shear arrogance of the man!

There has to be a public inquiry into the impact that Pugh and Beynon have had on education on the island.


So this is the “strong leadership” with whom some now compare Ian Stephens unfavourably! Short memories, don’t know when we’re lucky …

retired Hack

Someone’s been having a go at Pugh’s Wiki page. Quick, before he changes it back again..

better red than bled

Looks quite accurate to me. :-$

Steve Goodman

Pugh, Beynon, Miller, & plenty of others demonstrate that we don’t exactly get value for money when we pay for our politics under the present system. Perhaps these public sector workers should have to return overpayments following poor performance or failure to co-operate.

old bull

If they managed to screw up building a school how long will it be before we find out they did exactly the same with the roads PFI.
Tories working for fat cats.

I do not believe it

Even a worm would admit to being morally responsible! Hang on! Pugh IS a wriggly invertebrate!
The late Terry Thomas would undoubtably comment:- “This Pugh is an absolute shower. He deserves a damn good thrashing!”.


Oh no! Its that (expletive deleted) picture again. I thought we’d seen the last of that.

sam salt
I think Richard Priest is wrong, we the tax payers need to know the facts behind this mess. Everyone on here is shouting for David Pugh and Steve Beynon’s heads but surely the one who should be answering questions on this is Davina Fiore, Head of Legal. It was her department that would have advised and negotiated the contract. Davina is still employed at the IWC although… Read more »
Interesting that the Isle of Wight Council Forward Plan Apr 2014 to July 2014 (issued by DF 4 April 2014) indicates that discussions on capital disposals- such as schools and a youth club- will be discussed by IWC in private session. Shades of “Delegated Decisions”? However, hopefully our trusty OTW editors will note and take appropriate action on “Any queries relating to the above, requests for copies/extract… Read more »
I think Richard Priest is right: it takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money to carry out an investigation and that would be better spent on fixing the mess IMO. Pugh and Beynon will only appear to answer questions in a court of law. Why should they care about the Isle of Wight? We were just a vehicle for their career ambitions. But… Read more »
Citizen Smith

An inquiry would expose the council officers who are still at county hall who may be responsible. Not just Davina.

But jlo, Cllr Priest is quoted here (on another topic) as saying that the protagonists need to be questioned, so I don’t know why you would say he is wrong. (You may have been thrown off by the headline to that piece). I don’t know him, but he’s done a lot of successful things on the Island, and as people tend to resort to arguing with each… Read more »
It was very easy for Richard Priest to make the bold statement that Pugh and Beynon must come back to be held accountable, because he knows that 1) it won’t happen and 2) it won’t happen and 3) it won’t happen. However, questioning officers that still exist within the council _is_ something that is under his control, but which he refuses to do. I agree with jalo… Read more »
sam salt
Good morning Tryme. Nice of you to answer my posting. Firstly “Manning up” in the context I was using it was not about verbal or physical fisticuffs, (your spin on my comment), it was about being brave enough to make decisions when issues are difficult. I would agree with you that since being in post Cllr Priest has done some good things. This is being recognised in… Read more »
I suppose the insertion of “lovely man” in a sentence that is otherwise quite negative about Priest, sounded to me like damning with faint praise, jalo! I gather he had a very positive record on the Island even a long time before he became a councillor. Sometimes “manning up” isn’t about being obviously assertive – it can be about putting your own ego aside and deciding what… Read more »
sally osmund

Isn’t there a law about “Misconduct in Public office” I think it applies to those who have been voted out as well

Highway to Hell

So, Mr Pugh claims not to be ‘accountable’ now he has left the IWC.

Was he, during his time with the IWC, ever competent? Looking at his track record of policies introduced under his leadership, one may assume the answer is in the negative.

Misconduct implies a level of premeditation. I don’t think David Pugh intended to cause so much harm. I believe he did so because he was so hopelessly and pathetically inadequate for the role given to him and so blinded by his own vanity and enormously false sense of his own abilities he never thought to listen to any scrutiny. The only proper job the man had before… Read more »

Grrrrrrr. That’s all I can contribute…oh and shocking..and …oh I give up..

Mmmm- very interesting! “Rotten Boroughs” (Eye 1364 p. 14) comments on a situation in Norfolk CC concerning a £500m incinerator approved by the outgoing Tory administration. The current Lab-Lib administration want to launch an inquiry into “why, for five years, senior officers continued to push for an incinerator, even after evidence emerged that the contract was not good value and other firms could provide the same service… Read more »