Councillors walk out as Brian Greenslade speaks during meeting at County Hall
- Credit: Local Democracy reporter
A protest from Devon County Council’s Labour councillors saw them walk out of the chamber every time Cllr Brian Greenslade spoke.
The seven councillors – Hilary Ackland, Marina Asvachin, Yvonne Atkinson, Su Aves, Emma Brennan, Rob Hannaford and Carol Whitton – left the chamber when Cllr Greenslade spoke during Thursday’s full council meeting.
Cllr Greenslade was found guilty of sexual harassment and abuse of four female employees over ‘many years’ by a standards investigation by the county council in July.
A notice of censure was served against Cllr Greenslade, which means his access to County Hall has been restricted to the Member’s Room, Ante Chamber and Council Chamber and he must undertake ‘relevant training’.
It has also been confirmed in a statement by North Devon Council, that they have had two complaints about his conduct that have been passed to the police for investigation. A police spokesman said they were unable to comment.
Cllr Brennan, who at the July full council meeting in a ‘Me Too’ moment spoke out against his presence, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service after the moment that she is offended that he is allowed into the chamber and she does not want to acknowledge his presence.
She said: “There have been a number of allegations from female council officers and I feel offended that he is allowed to continue and sit in the council chamber and I don’t want to be in the room when he is speaking.
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“Back in July I spoke out against him being in the council chamber and we decided to walk out or turn our backs to him as we don’t want to acknowledge him and we don’t think his presence is welcome.”
She said that she didn’t speak on behalf of the whole Labour group, but all councillors walked out on three occasions when Cllr Greenslade spoke during the meeting.
He had asked questions on Resilience Testing post Brexit and the Barnstaple Civic Centre, and spoke on cabinet member reports on the battle to save Appledore Shipyard and on the numbers of recorded road traffic accidents in Devon.
Cllr Greenslade continues to serve the people of Barnstaple North and having been suspended by the Liberal Democrats, currently sits as a North Devon Liberal.
He released a statement through his solicitor following the censure indicating that he plans to challenge the council’s decision.
He claims he was not given a fair hearing ‘as required by the Human Rights Act and the council’s own constitution’.