A councillor branded a motion to prevent members from leaving council meetings without a good excuse as ‘ridiculous’, before walking out.
Kate Allsop, portfolio holder for regeneration on Mansfield District Council, attacked the idea during the recent full council meeting, before saying she was going out to use the toilet.
The motion, proposed by Coun Sonia Ward, suggested that in the interests of respect, councillors should not leave meetings until the meeting is brought to a close.
But the idea infuriated Coun Allsop, who said: “This is the most ridiculous motion I have heard put to council yet.
“I question the motivation of the mover, and the wisdom of the officer who put this on a district council agenda.
“You seem to be under the impression that this is a primary school classroom.
“You want members, it would appear, to put their hands up and ask the chairman, if they can go the toilet.”
“How do you propose to police this utter nonsense?
“I assume you will have toilet prefects who will go out with the member to ensure they do what they told the chairman they were going to do,” she added sarcastically.
Both Coun Allsop and Coun Phil Shields, who are both members of the Mansfield Independent Forum (MIF), then left the room.
Coun Allsop returned later, while Coun Shields did not.
It led to several Labour members criticising both councillors during their absence, including Coun Ward, who accused MIF members of leaving early as a ‘tactical way to get out of voting’ on certain issues.
Coun Martin Lee, leader of the Labour group on the council described Coun Allsop’s speech as a ‘diatribe’ before adding: “Coun Allsop has clearly spent time in front of the mirror rehearsing that one.
“There’s no suggestion of putting our hands up if we want to go to the toilet.
“This is about respect for the chamber and respect for the mayor.”
The motion was carried with 25 members voting in favour and four voting against - all of which were members of the MIF.
The heated debate was just one agenda item of many that triggered clashes between the MIF and Labour councillors.
A motion by Labour councillor Adrian Harpham, to replace the current executive because of poor leadership, led to several lengthy attacks from Labour members on the mayor and his cabinet.
At one point, MIF member Coun Mick Colley, referring to Coun Paul Henshaw, said in response: “He must have so much hate it must curdle his brains sometimes.”
Again, the motion was passed because of the majority Labour votes.
But the bating continued after the meeting when Coun Ward took to social media site, Twitter, and described Coun Allsop’s speech as ‘am dram’ (amateur dramatics).
Coun Lee also mocked Coun Shields on the website calling him ‘spineless’ for leaving the meeting early.