PORTSMOUTH politicians stormed out of the council’s annual meeting when an issue involving Pompey came up.
Council leader, cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson asked members to address why Labour group leader, cllr John Ferrett wanted to delay the £1.45m of taxpayers’ cash being given to Pompey Supporters’ Trust.
The council said they had to make a quick decision at February’s cabinet meeting because stalling payment would jeopardise the Pompey Supporters’ Trust’s situation at the High Court.
But Conservative and Labour group members decided to leave instead because they felt it was inappropriate talking about the matter at such an important event.
Earlier on the new Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Lynne Stagg was sworn in and the mayors of Portsmouth’s twinned cities of Caen and Duisburg, and sister city Maizuru in Japan, came to congratulate her.
The foreign guests walked out shortly after the opposition parties.
Only Conservative councillor Steve Wemyss stayed in the council chamber, but couldn’t take part in the debate because he has a share in Pompey.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson condemned the parties’ actions.
‘We would like to restore unity at this council,’ he said.
‘We want to show that we were in support of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust.
‘John Ferrett clearly thinks he is right and the club should be sent into liquidation.
‘I am extremely shocked that he hasn’t taken this opportunity to bring unanimity. The only way for John Ferrett to do that is for him and the labour group to say sorry.’
Cllr Ferrett had said at a previous meeting that he didn’t support the move because he thought it was being rushed through.
The money went to the trust anyway because the council’s cabinet voted in support.
It ensured the trust had the finances to take over the club and kept them out of liquidation. Cllr Ferrett said he stood by what he had said and was embarrassed about the council’s actions yesterday.
‘The motion was completely inappropriate for the annual meeting, particularly given the presence of our foreign guests,’ he said.
‘It’s sole purpose was to attack the labour group.
‘The Liberal Democrats should be embarrassed by their actions.’