Portsmouth politics ‘dominated by attacks on personalities’

A report has said politics in Portsmouth is dominated by attacks on personalities
A report has said politics in Portsmouth is dominated by attacks on personalities
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AN internal review in the Portsmouth Liberal Democrat party has said politics in the city is dominated by attacks on personalities.

Councillor Kath Pinnock, leader of Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire, spoke to Lib Dems in Portsmouth after they lost control of the council.

In her report she said: ‘Politics in Portsmouth appears to be dominated by attacks on personalities rather than debate on policy decisions.

‘Some of these attacks have become particularly unpleasant with uncorroborated assertions of, for instance, corruption being levied at councillors without them having any apparent recourse to retraction and apology.’

Cllr Pinnock said she was surprised the city council chief executive and solicitor had not been involved when these allegations came up.

She added 18 of 19 current councillors, and four former councillors, said they were not bullied or had seen any bullying.

Cllr Pinnock interviewed current and former Lib Dem councillors, activists and candidates.

As reported, the start of the review prompted Cllr Eleanor Scott to quit the party over concerns the review would not look into her concerns over Mike Hancock.

The Portsmouth South MP last month admitted forging an appropriate relationship with a female constituent.

Cllr Pinnock’s report is separate to another review being carried out into a specific claim of bullying.

But she added everyone who spoke to her had concerns about the way group meetings were run.

She said: ‘However, there was unease expressed at the way some individuals, and not only men, on occasions, used raised voices, speaking over others, slamming the table, and storming out of meetings to get their way.

‘The consequence was that some councillors felt very uncomfortable when this happened in group meetings and the aggressive atmosphere may have something to do with the gender imbalance in the group and the council as a whole.’