The one councillor who chose not to vote in favour of the motion – or against – was Cllr John Kilpatrick (Conservative councillor for Binstead and Fishbourne).
Kilpatrick: Abstained “because I chose to”
OnTheWight queued with other Isle of Wight reporters to speak to Cllr Kilpatrick after the meeting to find out why he abstained.
He told OnTheWight,
“Because I chose to.”
When asked why he chose to, he replied,
“I didn’t want to vote yes and I didn’t want to vote no.”
“I went to Pride this year. I’ve got no issue with Pride at all. I just chose to abstain.”
Cllr admits to not reading papers
However, Cllr Kilpatrick, who is paid £7,700 per annum for serving as a councillor, told Emily at the County Press,
“I had not decided, so I didn’t vote.”
Going on to admit,
“Maybe I should have read the motion in more depth, but I don’t vote for things I haven’t read properly.”
Several councillors spoke on the matter prior to the vote, giving Cllr Kilpatrick plenty of time during the meeting to read and understand the motion.
Councillors paid to read papers
All councillors receive papers for the full council meetings one week in advance to inform them of the matters to be discussed prior to the meeting.
The full council meetings are now only held every two months.
Aside from the various motions put forward from councillors, there was only one main item for debate last night (the £100m property investment). Despite that, Cllr Kilpatrick admits he’d not read the motion properly prior to or during the meeeting.
The motion Cllr Kilpatrick chose to abstain on was presented by Cllr Debbie André (Ind) and read,
This Council congratulates the organisers of the Pride Event which took place in Ryde in July this year and welcomes the support for the event shown by the Isle of Wight community.
The Isle of Wight Council pledges to support next year’s Pride Event, due to take place on 21st July 2018, and to encourage support for Diversity on the Isle of Wight.
Invitation to constituents
When we suggested his constituents might be confused to hear that he’s happy to simply abstain on voting on council business for no particular reason, he replied,
“They are welcome to come and speak to me.”
Any Islanders who want to find out more can contact Cllr Kilpatrick by emailing him on his official email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. In contrast to nearly all of the councillors, he does not provide a phone number.
Cllr Kilpatrick won his seat by two votes in the 2017 local election. Two votes in that ward were rejected at the count.