A Dorset town council meeting held over Zoom descended into an angry shouting match — with one councillor calling one of her colleagues “an idiot” and “absolutely thick”.
Councillor Karen Tippins is facing calls to resign after she repeatedly berated a fellow member during the Shaftesbury Town Council’s video conference call.
Footage of the virtual meeting showed the local politicians arguing over who should be given personal protective equipment (PPE) after extra funding was agreed to buy kit for the town.
After councillor Matthew Welch argued in favour of extending the supply as widely as possible in the community, Ms Tippins said: “What an idiot. Welch you’re an idiot. Councillor Welch you’re an idiot!”
When she was asked to retract the statement, she added: “No. I’m sorry — he is thick, he is absolutely thick ... He’s thick.”
While one councillor demanded she be muted on the call, another could be heard saying “she’s got a point”.
Ms Tippins appeared to argue the council did not have the power to decide to distribute PPE more widely in the community.
Following the tempestuous Zoom meeting, Shaftesbury and District Chamber of Commerce launched an online petition calling for Ms Tippins to resign, accusing her of “damaging to the good name of our town”.
She is also facing a possible motion of no confidence over her behaviour at a future town council meeting.
Councillor Andy Hollingshead, who has put forward the motion, told the Salisbury Journal: “[The council was] working really well together, this is all in jeopardy because of one councillor.
The council is excellent and well respected and the surrounding staff are brilliant, they do not need this rubbish.”
It is not the first time a political meeting held on Zoom has gone wrong during the coronavirus crisis. In April, the Welsh health minister was caught swearing about a colleague after accidentally leaving his microphone unmuted.
Vaughan Gething later apologised after he was heard saying “what the f*** is the matter with her” in reference to Cardiff Central assembly member Jenny Rathbone.