Mayor tells councillor to return allowance

Cllr Sarah Dinenage
Cllr Sarah Dinenage
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THE Lord Mayor of Portsmouth has called for a councillor to repay her allowance for not attending meetings.

At yesterday’s full council meeting Cllr Paula Riches criticised Tory Cllr Sarah Dinenage’s record.

She said: ‘Cllr Dinenage has attended two meetings of the last seven, plus one which she only attended for ten minutes.

‘If you are put forward as a councillor you should do your job and I hope she will consider what she has done and will think about repaying the cash she is paid to attend.

‘Councillors are paid to attend meetings and represent people, and I wonder what the people in her ward think about her.’

Cllr Dinenage receives £10,200 per year as a Portsmouth City Councillor, and is a reserve member of the licensing committee and sub-committee but has not been called on to attend licensing meetings this year. She sent apologies to the Lord Mayor for being unable to attend yesterday.

She said: ‘I have only missed a couple of full council meetings, including one on Tuesday because of a fairly serious hospital appointment.

‘The majority of councillors only turn up to shout their mouths off anyway. When I became a local councillor it was to work for people in my ward, and I make a world of difference to the issues which might seem small, but have a big impact on people’s lives.

‘I do the best I can for residents in my ward, and I know there are people who will back that up.

‘It would be nice if the Lord Mayor had called me up if she had concerns, rather than shouting her mouth off in front of the entire council.

‘I made her aware of my appointment and I think it is disgusting that anyone would say these things behind my back.’

Tory group leader, Cllr Steve Wemyss, said: ‘The Lord Mayor was out of order. Sarah’s long-term boyfriend came back badly injured from Afghanistan, so that’s why she had been unable to attend previous meetings.

‘To attack her when she’s not here is unfair.’