Insults fly as Tory councillors compared with Taliban and accused of misogyny

Conservative councillors were compared to the Taliban and accused of being misogynistic during a raucous council meeting.

By Eddie Bisknell
Sunday, 26th September 2021, 11:30 am
Updated Sunday, 26th September 2021, 6:57 pm

Amber Valley Council, covering Somercotes, Riddings and Ironville, is the frequent host of heated debates with accusations hurled between members of the Conservative administration and Labour opposition.

This week, in an argument over what topics of questions could be asked following the council leader’s update, Coun John McCabe, Labour member for Somercotes, said: “Oh, so the Taliban has arrived in Amber Valley has it?”

The Conservatives demanded an apology – but none was forthcoming.

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Amber Valley Council is based at the Town Hall, Market Place, Ripley.

Coun Kevin Buttery, council leader, claimed a Labour plan to pull grant funding from the Belper North Mill Trust was so Coun Ben Bellamy, Labour group leader, ‘did not have to go and tell his wife (a volunteer at the trust) he is taking money off them’.

Coun Bellamy called this ‘disgusting’ and demanded an apology – also without success.

During an argument over the size of the council, which is currently the subject of a boundary review and may reduce its number of councillors, Coun Bellamy told Coun Buttery: “You wouldn’t know the truth if it ran you over.”

This caused Coun Chris Short, a Conservative to say ‘I believe that demands an apology’, to which Coun Bellamy said: “I think I am owed several apologies.”

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Labour’s Coun Eileen Hamilton spoke at length about garden waste collections being suspended in the borough and the lack of communication between the authority and residents.

She was repeatedly asked by Coun David Taylor, the Tory Mayor chairing the meeting, and shouted at by Conservative councillors, to hurry her speech along and to ask a question, with less prelude.

In response to a question on the future of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, Tory Coun Tony Harper spoke at length.

Labour’s Coun Emma Monkman said it could be viewed as ‘misogynistic’ that Coun Hamilton was repeatedly hurried along during her speech, when Coun Harper was allowed to speak for seven uninterrupted minutes.

Coun Hamilton said: “I totally agree with Coun Monkman, I think it is about time you let us women talk for as much time as you gentlemen.”

However, Coun Taylor said: “Women can look after themselves, have you met my wife?”

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