“I would never intentionally upset Shirley Smart, her and Harry Rees were my friends and they came to dinner.”
That was the message from Cllr Geoff Brodie (Ind Lab) after Isle of Wight Council leader Cllr Dave Stewart (Con) said he should be ashamed of his behaviour during Wednesday’s IW Council budget meeting.
Stewart: “Hope the councillor is ashamed”
In a tweet today, Cllr Stewart wrote: “I hope the councillor who chose to interrupt [and] upset a colleague at [full council] on Wednesday is ashamed”.
The incident occurred during an emotional moment when Cllr Shirley Smart (Island Indie) was attempting to point out the amount of work her late husband and fellow IW Councillor Harry Rees to get support for the Isle of Wight from government and the EU.
Smart: I’m going to get very emotional
Cllr Smart started by saying,
“I am going to get very emotional and I apologise.”
Whilst speaking live on the online meeting, Cllr Brodie also came on trying to make a point of order about an amendment he wished to make to a motion being debated – he has said that at the time he could not hear Cllr Smart talking.
Cllr Smart waited and listened to Cllr Brodie then adding, “I am terribly sorry Geoff I will shut up.” The Chairman asked what the point of order was, Cllr Smart carried on,
“I’m sorry Geoff, I didn’t know it was coming up, I am very emotional, you know Harry worked on this for years and years on this and I just wanted to say, we’ve just got to continue and I do apologise.”
Brodie: Once again being treated appallingly
Cllr Brodie called again for a point of order and said his amendment had not been brought forward, he was ‘once again being treated appallingly by the council’ and it was a ‘disgrace’.
Due to the meeting happening online, during pauses for councillors to read Cllr Brodie’s amendment, an upset Cllr Smart could still be heard.
Smart: “I’m fine”
Cllr Clare Mosdell (Con) asked if there was anyone who can give Cllr Smart some support, adding, “I just feel dreadful that I can hear her crying”.
Cllr Smart replied, “I’m fine,” adding, “He worked blooming hard for this Island”.
At the time, Cllr Brodie said he was sorry Cllr Smart was feeling distressed and did not know what was going on, saying his connection into the meeting was poor.
Brodie: Suggesting it was deliberate is “a gross insult”
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Brodie said,
“When I was raising a point of order on Wednesday I had no idea that Cllr Smart was talking or indeed talking about her late husband when I raised my point of order. All I had on the laptop screen was her face.
“The suggestion that I would deliberately upset Cllr Smart when she is talking about her late husband is a gross insult.”
Complaint against leader to Monitoring Officer
Following publication of this article Cllr Brodie got in touch to share this update. He said,
“I have today [Saturday] received an apology from my colleague Shirley Smart for causing me any embarrassment after Wednesday’s Full Council.
“Something she obviously did not intend to do, just as I would never deliberately upset her.
“We were both victims of the dreadful Council IT. Something I have been complaining to the Chief Executive about for months, but to little avail.
“I will now be submitting a complaint to the Monitoring Officer against Dave Stewart.”
11am 28th Feb 2021 – Additional comment from Cllr Brodie added and para 6 reworded slightly.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may have been made by OnTheWight. Ed