THE Mayor of Newport has accused a councillor who quoted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a council meeting of breaking pre-election rules.

Under purdah rules, during a pre-election period council work restricted to maintain a politically neutral stance – but this does not apply to councillors.

In Newport County Council’s full council meeting this week, leader of the Newport Independents Party Cllr Kevin Whitehead questioned why none of the ward councillors in Bettws had been considered for a Newport High School governorship.


He said: “I really think it’s unacceptable and I will use the term, Mr Corbyn likes to use this term, it ‘smacks of cronyism.’

“How can we have a high school on our doorstep and not have representation?”

But Cllr Whitehead was stopped from explaining further by the Mayor of Newport Cllr William Routley.

Cllr Routley said: “Can you just keep away from other political phrases and political jargon because at the moment we are in purdah.

“I’m quite happy to allow you to speak about your lack of representation on the school governing body of Newport High, but I am not willing to sit here whilst we are in purdah and allow you to bring yourself into disrepute.

“I’m trying to look after you.”

Cllr Whitehead responded with an apology.

He said: “Apologies, lovely word purdah, I’m fully aware of that.

“It’s not a knock at anybody, it’s just that parents do contact us and say ‘why are none of you guys on the board of governors at the high school?’, bearing in mind when there are issues at the school the press will contact me.

“If I was on that governorship I’d be more informed of opinions.”

Responding to Cllr Whitehead’s question the cabinet member for culture and leisure, and business manager, Cllr Debbie Harvey, said: “The reason why you were not contacted is because, when you were on the governing body, you relinquished the governing body for your colleagues either side of you.

“Therefore we were under the illusion you didn’t want to be on the governing body and that’s why it’s been left as it is.”