Worthing councillor storms out of virtual meeting over missing questions

A furious councillor abandoned an online meeting after branding the goings-on ‘a disgrace to the people of Worthing’.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 3:43 pm

The outburst from Martin McCabe (Lib Dem, Tarring) came during a Worthing Borough Council meeting on Tuesday (April 20).

During members’ question time, Mr McCabe was told that two questions he submitted weeks ago had been missed off the list ‘due to unfortunate circumstances’ and he would receive written responses instead.

Branding the situation ‘outrageous’, he tried to submit a motion of no confidence in the ability of chairman Lionel Harman to chair the meeting – only to be told that he needed to give ten days’ notice of such a motion.

Lib Dem Martin McCabe

Things calmed down after Mr McCabe was told he would be able to ask his questions ‘time allowing’.

They promptly blew up again when the 30 minutes allowed for questions ran out, with the final one coming from Charles James (Con, Durrington) who asked whether there would be flowers in the town centre this summer.

While some councillors were seen smiling over the question, the answer and a follow-up query about pansies, Mr McCabe did not find it funny.

He said: “This is a nonsensical, crony council and I am leaving this meeting. This is a disgrace to the people of Worthing. Worthing deserves better than this crony council.”

He was followed out of the meeting by fellow Tarring councillor Bob Smytherman.

Mr Harman (Con, Castle) told the meeting that if Mr McCabe had ‘held his nerve for a moment’, he would have been invited to ask his questions anyway.

He added: “Apologies for the mistakes that have happened earlier and very big apologies for Cllr McCabe’s outburst and I sincerely hope at some point he comes to his senses and makes a personal apology.”