F-bomb councillor rebuked after swearing in online meeting


Five hours of debate would take its toll on even the most ardent of politicians.

And Stoke-on-Trent city councillors were subjected to just that this week as a crucial budget setting reached fever pitch in a 21 to 21 vote tie, settled by the Tory Lord Mayor’s casting vote.

But during the fourth proposed Labour amendment to the budget, one councillor can be heard to say: “Oh, f****** hell!”

No councillor has so far admitted uttering the profanity and the Conservative member for Meir South, Councillor Faisal Hussain – who had just voted against the mental health provision amendment – has denied it was him.

Over Whatsapp, he said: “That wasn’t me. I believe another councillor had his mic off mute. I’m not too sure who, as I heard it too. I couldn’t tell who it was.”

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Young Labour activists took to Twitter with the video clip, posting: “‘Oh f****** hell’. Yeah. I’d feel the same if I had just voted against a £100,000 boost for children’s preventative mental health services in Stoke, @SoTConservative.”

Finance officer Nick Edmonds advised councillors that funding council services out of reserves was not a sustainable solution, as the money can only be spent once.

But Labour councillors pointed out that the council was currently predicting a £1.1 million underspend for the current year, meaning their proposals would be affordable.

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Conservative councillors responded by saying that the Labour group had condemned previous budget proposals to use reserves in this way.

The council’s monitoring officer, James Doble, issued a warning to members by reminding them to be wary of their language during meetings.

He said: “I would like to remind all members that when your microphones are active, please ensure your language is appropriate to the meeting in question.”

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