Since last week’s revelations about the behaviour of Cllr Chris Dupre at a Sandown Town Council (STC) meeting, where a teenage volunteer was reduced to tears, STC members have been invited to put their name to a letter calling for his resignation.
News of Cllr Dupre’s behaviour was broken by OnTheWight on Tuesday and was the focus of the front page of the County Press last week. However, at least five Sandown Town Councillors say they won’t call for his resignation, and two didn’t even respond to the invitation.
Andre: Behaviour has “brought Town Council into disrepute”
Cllr Debbie Andre and Cllr Eric Lawson are the only councillors willing to put their names to the open letter which reads,
Following the events at the Sandown Town Council Meeting on Monday 26th February, the Councillors listed below hereby call for the immediate resignation of Councillor Chris Dupre from Sandown Town Council due to the unacceptable nature of his behaviour which we believe has brought the Town Council into disrepute.
Cllr Heather Humby told Cllr Andre that she would have put her name to the letter, but didn’t see the email in time.
Ward: Several councillors are “unduly stressed”
When asked to add his name to the letter, Cllr Ian Ward (an Isle of Wight councillor, Cabinet member for Transport and Chairman of the Isle of Wight Conservative Association, replied,
“I do not support such a letter, so please remove my name. This is a matter for Chris to decide.
“Several members feel they have been deliberately undermined and harassed personally over the last several months so are unduly stressed.”
Brading: Dupre’s behaviour “behaviour is not acceptable”
Although he believed the councillor’s behaviour was “not acceptable”, Cllr Paul Brading (who is also an Isle of Wight councillor and Cabinet member for Children’s Services), has also refused to put his name to the letter.
“Firstly I do not condone at all the outburst from Chris on Monday evening, and the abuse aimed at the public, and then fellow councillors.
“Provoked or not, this behaviour is not acceptable, even after the meeting had been effectively closed by the mayor.
“I think that Chris will be taking stock of his actions himself, which is his right to do so. Therefore after consideration I do not wish my name to be on this letter.”
Andre: Dupre won’t “have the decency to stand down”
Cllr Andre said,
“This is not the first time that Cllr Dupre’s behaviour has brought Sandown Town council into disrepute. Enough is enough.
“We know that Chris will not have the decency to stand down of his own accord and we owe it to our residents to ensure that all councillors uphold the code of conduct and maintain the highest standards of behaviour as befits public office.
“It’s my opinion that his position as a town councillor has become untenable.”
The councillors who said definitively that they were unwilling to put their names to the letter calling for Cllr Dupre’s resignation were:
- Deputy Mayor, Cllr Gary Young
- Cllr Paul Brading
- Cllr Connie Cowley
- Cllr Jacquie Mereweather
- Cllr Ian Ward
Cllr Andre told OnTheWight she did not receive a response from either the Mayor, Cllr Raj Patel, nor Cllr Ronnie Teasdale.
This is not the first time that Cllr Dupre’s behaviour has drawn attention from the public and media.
In 2016 he was forced to apologise for making homophobic comments after saying at a Sandown Town Council meeting,
“What we need is attendants to stop paedophiles, homosexuals, pigeons and all sorts going on in there.”
The subject is likely to be raised at the public town meeting called by residents for this coming Friday 9th March.
It takes place at The Bay primary school from 7pm. Residents are urged to attend to have their say about the events that have led to a 74% council tax precept increase.