AUDIO: To wee or not to wee? Debate on caught-short councillors goes national

FENLAND councillors who relieved themselves by a hedge while on official business have triggered a national debate.

We revealed this week how Conservative councillors on Fenland District Council - including Mayor of March Bernard Keane - were told off by colleagues after spending a, rather public, penny while on a tour of planning application sites.

But the issue reached new heights yesterday as drainage board member Cllr Keane, Cambs Times/Wisbech Standard Editor John Elworthy and Cambridgeshire farmer and TV presenter Robin Page voiced their opinions with Jeremy Vine on Radio 2. Listen to the full debate above.

The Cambs Times/Wisbech Standard had earlier revealed:

A GROUP of councillors caught short while on official business have been given a ticking off for going up against a hedge to relieve themselves.

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The Conservative councillors got told off in front of colleagues when they found a complaint against them put on the agenda during a private meeting.

The councillors are all members of Fenland District Council planning committee and were on a coach trip around towns and villages to look at sites which had received planning applications.

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First off the bus to find a hedge was Councillor Bernard Keane, the Mayor of March, who shot off to find a hedgerow when the bus stopped near Wisbech.

Half-an-hour later, and as the coach pulled into another site, Cllr Keane set off again to attend the call of nature but this time was joined by two others.

Planning committee member Jan French was on board the bus but refused to discuss what had happened.

“How did you find out about this?” she said. “You’re blowing it all out of proportion.”

Another councillor said colleagues who needed to use a toilet should have asked the driver to stop at public conveniences in town.

In future, the coach will be routed so that stops can be made – ironically, Fenland Council is talking of closing seven of the 11 public loos in operates in the four market towns.

The councillor said: “Urinating in a public place is simply not on – particularly as the council often has a number of young female planning officials on board the bus.”

Independent councillor Michael Bucknor was on board but denied he was one of those caught short.

He said: “To implicate me is an absolute lie, a mischievous lie.”

Councillor Phil Hatton, planning committee chairman, said: “I have no further comment to make on this subject and agree with Councillor French it’s been blown out of all proportion.”

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