Councillor quits committee deciding clerk’s fate but categorically denies claims he missed meeting for election photo op with MEP

Euro MEP Vicky Ford in Wisbech. Cllr Tierney is on the far right.

Euro MEP Vicky Ford in Wisbech. Cllr Tierney is on the far right. - Credit: Archant

A TORY councillor quit a committee investigating suspended town clerk Erbie Murat in a row over whether he missed a critical meeting to be photographed with a Euro MEP. He categorically denies the claim.

Vicky Ford MEP for the East of England.

Vicky Ford MEP for the East of England. - Credit: Archant

County and town councillor Steve Tierney took to social network Twitter to announce that “I was not removed from the committee itself- but have today resigned from it.”

Councillor Dave Patrick

Councillor Dave Patrick - Credit: Archant

The row broke yesterday after Cllr Tierney, standing for re election to Cambridgeshire County Council, spent some time with MEP Vicky Ford during her visit to Wisbech.,

Cllr Steve Tierney

Cllr Steve Tierney - Credit: Archant

Cllr Tierney had originally been scheduled to attend a noon meeting of a special town council committee probing the reasons behind the suspension of town clerk Erbie Murat.

Cllr Tierney had been a member with Lib Dem councillor Dave Patrick, the mayor Councillor Vivien McRae, Tory councillor Carol Cox and independent councillor Virginia Bucknor.

You may also want to watch:

Cllr Patrick told Cllr Tierney via Twitter that “you chose to go campaigning while others who are standing spent four hours of their time doing what needed to be done.

“You made it political by not attending and putting your interests first!”

Most Read

But Cllr Tierney hit back saying that he arrived late by arrangement and “I was asked to take no part in the decision as I wasn’t there to hear all the evidence, which I fully agreed with

“I was late for a meeting - I had said I would arrive late, in advance, in the proper way.”

He added that he didn’t think “opportunistic political attacks are appropriate in regards to this issue. It’s a real shame, in my view. I arrived at precisely the time I said I would. So give it a rest with the opportunistic spin and lies, eh?

“I had another commitment - not the one you claim either - and I gave apologies that I would be late in advance.”

He added that “virtually every member of the committee has missed a meeting due to other commitments.”

And he told Cllr Patrick: “So knock yourself out making silly nonsense claims and scoring petty points all you want to. I expect nothing less.”

Cllr Bucknor tweeted that “for accuracy, no other member has missed any meeting except one councillor who had already booked a holiday.”

Cllr Tierney later produced two emails which showed he had warned his colleagues the previous evening that he may be late.

He said the MEP visit had been known and factored into his plans for a while but “a personal family issue” intervened to complicate his day.

He later wrote on his blog that “in all respects I have behaved in precisely the appropriate and professional way.

“In a perfect world there would never be a diary problem – but any sensible person knows that the perfect world does not exist.”

He said membership of the town council sub committee “was a voluntary commitment that I took on to try and help.

“Until now the members of the committee have managed to behave in a way that does them credit. But one member of the committee has not and I do not feel I can continue to take part.

“There are real consequences to an issue like this – real people are involved and real people’s jobs. I will not take further part in it when that one member can so blatantly abuse their position.”

And on Twitter he added that he had never intended to be photographed with Vicky Ford “but walked into town and was called over. Frankly wish I’d walked on by now.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter