There has been public outrage after the Cabinet member responsible for roads (and the Cowes floating bridge) Cllr Ian Ward, was photographed apparently browsing for trousers at Tuesday’s Scrutiny Committee meeting.
The images were captured by a member of the public from the public gallery during what they say was the sensitive and controversial item about the future of the fire service and posted to the Isle of Wight Fire Service Review and You Facebook Page.
Some calling for resignation
At the time of publishing over 80 residents had commented on the images, with some calling for his resignation.
OnTheWight has contacted Cllr Ward for a response and will add here when we hear back.
Ward: “Is that the end of the world?”
In the meantime, when talking to Isle of Wight Radio this morning, Cllr Ward appears dismissive.
“Let me put this in context. That was a three hour meeting, okay? And obviously we are not involved with every single aspect of the meeting. In fact, that was a scrutiny meeting where I had nothing on the agenda – I didn’t even have to be there but I went anyway because I feel that’s my duty.
“But during those three hours most of us try to do something productive rather than just sit there so I was going through my emails and answering queries and doing this and doing that.
“The fact that I should come across one from a retailer and look at if for a couple of minutes is that the end of the world? I don’t think it is.”
Members of the public have argued that although it’s not his portfolio, Cllr Ward should have been listening to all the discussion surrounding the item he will making a decision on tonight.
During the Scrutiny Committee meeting (catch up here), the Chairman, Cllr Andrew Garratt, said if he were a Cabinet member, he would not be able to make a decision at tonight’s meeting due to not having enough information.
The Cabinet members will be making their decision at the Ventnor Winter Gardens tonight (Thursday) from 5pm. Members of public are welcome to attend the large venue capable of seating at least 300 people.
OnTheWight will be reporting live from the meeting for those who are unable to attend.
Not the first
Cllr Ward is not the first and may not be the last councillor captured looking at non-council business during official meetings.
Cllr Chris Whitehouse apparently browsing Netflix during the meeting when councillors making budget setting decisions for the coming year.
Cllr John Howe was criticised after Isle of Wight Radio’s Facebook live video of a council meeting showed him looking at cars for sale on his iPad.