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Former Bideford mayor Andy Powell storms out of council meeting

By NDJPhilippa  |  Posted: April 12, 2013

  • Councillor Andy Powell

  • Councillor David Brenton

  • Councillor Annie Brenton

Comments (13)

A Bideford Town Councillor and former mayor of the town stormed out of a town council meeting last night - the fourth time he has left a meeting during his ten years as councillor.

Councillor Andy Powell left the full council meeting, which was held in the council chamber at Bideford Town Hall, about an hour after it had started.

The disruption occurred after Mr Powell felt he had been insulted by Councillor David Brenton.

Mr Powell had asked Duncan Withall, a guest speaker at the meeting from the Bideford Food Bank, whether there were enough measures in place to ensure the services the food bank provide are not taken advantage of.

He said he could imagine some of those going to the food bank might have spent all their benefit income on alcohol and tobacco and then go to the food bank claiming they have no money.

Mr Withall gave reassurance that there are measures in place to ensure the type of situation described by Mr Powell doesn't happen.

But while Mr Powell made his comments Councillor Annie Brenton shouted out: "Shame, shame."

Once Mr Powell had finished Mr Brenton stood up and said: "The undeserving poor is not a term I want to hear in this chamber again."

But before Mr Brenton said anymore Mr Powell leapt up and said: "Right, I know exactly where that is directed. That is absolutely it, I am sorry I'm leaving." He then stormed out.

Mr Brenton added: "Well that is the fourth time Councillor Powell has thrown his toys out of the pram and stormed out of this chamber."

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13 comments

  • ArtfulDodger  |  April 16 2013, 2:26PM

    @judge-dread My comment was in response to a comment, the wealthy who fleece the system wasn't actually mentioned within it, but I do find them equally in the wrong now that it has been mentioned, my comment with regard to travel(and I am of to the Caribbean again soon) was made to show that the levels of poverty are completely different in Britain to some other places worldwide where if you don't work you do not eat.... Even the poorest among us have a mobile phone etc I will await howls of derision but I have worked hard to enjoy the spoils of my Labour :)

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  • judge_dredd  |  April 15 2013, 10:02PM

    @ArtfulDodger I note you round on those who choose a benefits life style but don't round on those wealthy people who fleece us all by tax avoidance. It's somehow thought of as a shrewd move or playing the system. Maybe you'd like to comment on this sector of the community for a change. Locally jobs are not well paid or for than matter plentiful, you're lucky if you can get a part time job under 16hrs at minimum wage so benefits such as working tax credits are a life line or would you say lifestyle choice. I challenge your perception that a vast amount of people choose a benefits lifestyle especially in areas such as this. Austerity measures only leads to reduction in demand which means less and less chance of any recovery. Finally it is of no comfort to people struggling anywhere in the world to be told you could be worse off somewhere else. Is this some sort of new league table of misery I've missed?

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  • ArtfulDodger  |  April 15 2013, 10:30AM

    @Grimreaper, Those who choose benefits as a lyfestyle choice open themselves up to be an easy target, those who are genuinely needy should of course not be tarred with this brush, unfortunately(and speaking from experience as I work within the benefit system)vast numbers of people chose not to work or attempt to fend for themselves as the benefits they receive are far too generous.... Besides as someone who likes to travel I have seen the truly poor, and no-one in this country needs to be in that category.....our needy are well catered for in that respect

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  • grimreaper5544  |  April 13 2013, 6:42PM

    Barumbcfc We could sit here all day and for the coming week pontificating on what is and isn't right, nevertheless I feel we are straying away from the original article which I am happy to say the views from many were old hat and entrenched in cheap throw away lines and do not reflect the plight of many. Obviously abuse does take place from millionaires to benefit claimants although sadly they don't all get treated the same. Finally what I would say is Mr Powel not only let himself down by walking out he also gave little thought to those who elected him to office and representing there views.

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  • barumbcfc  |  April 13 2013, 5:26PM

    "Grimreaper" You assume wrong, I certainly don't think no one should have benefits.quiet how you assume that just because I dare to say certain questions (safeguards) should be in place. Benefits are a right but an awful lot of people think its a lifestyle choice.as the member of the shadow cabinet said last week if you don't know any family abusing welfare then you've got your head in the sand. Your comment on your first post about people crawling out the woodwork I found offensive.can you explain to me why I don't have the right to question your views as far as I know freedom of speech is still allowed in this country.I merely said in my initial comment I thought mr Powell asked a valid question !

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  • grimreaper5544  |  April 13 2013, 4:47PM

    barumbcfc I am not sure if I should be delighted or upset at being aligned as a leftie, however what I do know is that it is so easy to pick on the easy targets of anyone on benefits. I assume by your example you don't think anyone on benefits should have anything? Even if they had been hard working and through no fault of there own been made redundant in these austere times. I also find it disappointing that you don't understand how the food bank works and the safe guards put in place to rule out any abuse. So perhaps a cheap political side swipe at me makes you feel better which I'm more than happy to take, but maybe don't look for simplistic answers and throw everyone in the same barrel.

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  • barumbcfc  |  April 13 2013, 4:04PM

    "Grimreaper" What amazes me is how you lefties take offence when a perfectly valid question is asked. Everybody seems afraid to ask questions.i seen a young girl in the news yesterday all she was asked was how are you going to manage with the cuts,after teardrops she said she didn't know. Surely it would have been perfectly ok to ask if she smoked,had a mobile phone or her own car ! It's almost as though you aren't allowed to question benefit claimants.when you do question it The left wing do gooders crawl out from under the nearest stone and throw there toys out of the pram.

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  • Rockall2011  |  April 13 2013, 3:18PM

    The real question here is, okay Powell behaves like an immature child, but what about this payment of £500 as detailed by James 19A? Just because he yet again storms out of a meeting this shouldn't be brushed under the carpet as it's taxpayers' money they are using and we have a right to know if there has been any impropriety. All that said, I do accept that the Brentons, particuarly Mrs, can be provocative.

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  • grimreaper5544  |  April 12 2013, 7:44PM

    It always amazes me that so many people crawl out of the wood work to stamp on the disadvantaged with dated and stereotypical views. In this day and age it is to the shame of us all that the food bank and it valiant work has to take place. It seems Mr Powel and I will say Mr because with this type of action he does not deserve to be referred to as a Councillor. A Councillor serves the electorate and not stamps off at the drop of a hat when he feels his comments are being challenged. I do get the ideal it's like a dying swan seeking all the attention and sympathy at how wrong he is being treated. I think it could be said develop a back bone man defend what you think or leave........... Oh yes of course you already did this, but sadly for the rest of us I suspect you will return.

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  • James19A  |  April 12 2013, 6:55PM

    I was at the meeting last night and I think that Andy Powell was completely out of order to storm off. Especially when it transpired later that he was not present when the important point of why Andy had given £500 of council money, to someone other than had been agreed at the previous meeting. I would very much like to know if Andy Powell had stormed out to simply avoid the difficult questions to come over the allocation of the money, that the Town Clerk said is now unrecoverable. As a towns person watching the preceedings I think it reflected badly on the entire town. I hope that when Mr Powell reflects on his over reaction, to what is no more than a difference of opinion, he is sufficiently gentlemanly to apologise for bring the Town Council into disrepute. I'm sure that he is honerable enough to do that, and this was only a momentary lapse of judgement on his behalf.

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