Fife Council: councillor walks out in row with Provost over lack of respect as barbed comments include 'daleks have spoken' & 'get a grip'

Councillors have been accused of being disrespectful to one another during a full Fife Council meeting on Thursday which saw one walk out of the chamber.
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Provost Jim Leishman admonished elected members multiple times to adhere to the code of conduct and show respect for each other.

However, the situation deteriorated and at one point, Lib-Dem Councillor Allan Knox (Tay Bridgehead) gathered his things and left the chamber in the middle of the meeting.

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Throughout the course of the morning, respect deteriorated as councillors engaged in mock laughter and muttered comments while others were speaking.

Fife House, Glenrothes (Image by Danyel Vanreenen)Fife House, Glenrothes (Image by Danyel Vanreenen)
Fife House, Glenrothes (Image by Danyel Vanreenen)

At one point, as a Labour councillor finished, an unidentified SNP councillor said off-speaker that the “Daleks have spoken.”

Councillor Bailey-Lee Robb (SNP for Cowdenbeath) first raised the issue of respect after Cllr. Altany Craik, spokesperson for finance, economy and strategic planning said “get a grip” under his breath while SNP opposition leader David Alexander was addressing the chamber.

“I’m reminding you about respect,” Fife’s Provost Leishman admonished after the point was raised. “It goes for everyone in the room. This is an important matter - respect is a great thing to have. If you don’t have it for fellow councillors, it’s a poor place to be. Please show respect for everyone in the chamber.”

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Councillor John Beare later made remarks about Santa Claus “skipping” Lib-Dem Councillor James Calder’s house as he visits Dunfermline to evaluate “who’s been naughty or nice.”

Councillor Aude Boubaker-Calder (Lib-Dem for Dunfermline Central) immediately raised a point of order, calling Cllr Beare’s remarks a “personal attack.”

“I think it’s called humour,” Cllr Beare replied.

Councillor Linda Erskine later said she was “disgusted” by the behaviour of elected members on Thursday.

“I sat through this meeting listening to people calling speakers hypocrites, stupid, clowns and now speaking drivel - and it’s all coming from the SNP” she claimed. “I’m disgusted that people in Fife can watch this show. It’s not good enough and I want people to have some respect. We don’t have the same views - that’s obvious - but at least we can respect and listen to people.”

Provost Leishman agreed.

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“It’s really been quite upsetting for me listening from up here,” he said and as he began to admonish members about respect when he was interrupted by an SNP member accusing him of looking at the SNP group as he spoke.

“I’m sorry if by looking at you I’ve annoyed you,” Provost Leishman continued. “Everyone in the chamber please, please show respect when someone is speaking. I’m not going to tell you again because this is just nonsense.”

However, Provost Leishman was interrupted again, and told colleagues to let him finish speaking, at which point, Cllr Knox gathered his things and left the chamber. Cllr Knox told the Provost that he had no respect for him before walking out. He did not return to the meeting.

There wasn’t a particular resolution to the situation in council chambers on Thursday. At the end of the meeting, councillors simply went their separate ways - until next time.