A senior Labour councillor has been branded a ‘playground bully’ after an extraordinary row erupted in Manchester Council’s budget meeting today.
The incredible spat kicked off before the routine meeting had even started.
The cause of the unprecedented events? A poster.
A party political poster which breached Council protocol, was placed by Labour at the front of the council chamber, and read ‘10 Years of Tory And Lib Dem Cuts’.
Upon entering, Lib Dem leader John Leech began to take the message down citing the breach of council protocol.
This prompted senior Labour councillor Pat Karney to thunder across the chamber and begin an incredible six-minute tirade of abuse at the Lib Dem.
Whilst towering over Mr Leech, Karney demanded the laminated pieces of paper back at least eleven times, screaming, “They’re mine, give them back to me, they’re mine!”
Other members looked on in disbelief as the senior councillor continued to shout, “They’re mine, give them back to me! Give them back to me now! We won’t start the meeting til you give them back to me! They’re mine, give them back to me. Give them back!”
Mr Leech and his colleague Councillor Richard Kilpatrick sat in silence whilst the incredible scenes went on for several minutes.
Eventually snatching the paper from under Leech’s seat, Karney shouted even louder, “How dare you!” before storming to the front of the chamber to replace the poster.
“Get more councillors elected if you want to take decisions about this council!” he yelled before sticking the posters back up and finally sitting down.
The Council’s Deputy Leader Nigel Murphy could be seen laughing and recording the events.
In a statement released after the jawdropping events, a Spokesperson for Councillor John Leech and the Manchester City Council Liberal Democrats said:
“Today’s events were a clear example of Labour’s rejection of Council democracy; ignoring rules for party political gain, aggressively shouting in member’s faces and recording the events on smartphones.
“Councillors are elected to serve local people and the way senior Labour members behaved today undermines the very essence of public service.
“Pat Karney and the Labour group acted as though they were bullies in a playground gang, and it was an awful exposé of their character and those that stood by.
“The Liberal Democrats will not tolerate abuse, intimidation or bullying in any form, whether it be aimed at our councillors or members of the public, and this is a clear breach of that.
“We will be reporting today’s events.”
Some of the incredible scenes can be seen courtesy of MEN reporter, Jen Williams:
Labour refused to comment.