‘Arrogant’ - calls for councillor to resign after walking out of BBC interview
PUBLISHED: 17:31 21 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:31 21 February 2020
A councillor has been criticised as “petulant, arrogant and disrespectful” and been asked to resign after walking out of a radio interview.
Bill Borrett, cabinet member for adult social care, was speaking to a BBC Norfolk reporter after a meeting of the county council's scrutiny committee when he left the interview mid-question.
The meeting, held on Thursday, February 20, saw opposition councillors question the council's plans for a new life opportunity services for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism.
Political reporter Robbie West asked Mr Borrett a series of questions about the cost pressures of the new scheme, which were raised during the meeting.
He asked the Conservative member: "If there is this one off cost pressure of setting this system up, will that mean there is less funding per person?"
In the audio clip, which aired during Matthew Gudgin's drivetime show on the station, the councillor can then be heard removing his microphone and leaving the interview, followed by Mr West, who repeated: "Councillor Borrett, councillor Borrett.... he's gone."
Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group, wrote to council leader Andrew Proctor to ask for Mr Borrett's removal from the cabinet, following the interview.
He said: "It reflects badly on all of us that a senior member of the county council cabinet can behave in a manner so petulant, arrogant and disrespectful to the journalist and Norfolk public.
"This is not something we can permit or overlook.
"Unless he acknowledges his behaviour is unacceptable and steps down voluntarily, I urge you to replace him on the cabinet immediately to avoid further damage to the reputation of the council."
Conservative member Mr Proctor responded: "He wasn't being disrespectful to Mr West but the conversation was clearly going nowhere. You may say that his conduct was unacceptable but that is not my conclusion.
"He is an experienced and valuable cabinet member. I do not intend to replace him in that role."
Mr Borrett said: "I left the interview with Robbie West because despite the question being answered he was continuing to ask it multiple times."
He added: "It's not a surprise that a member of the opposition would ask a member of the administration to step down."