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Councillor flees council meeting as ‘I felt it wasn’t safe for me to remain’

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An independent councillor says she left a meeting of Peterborough City Council early last night after being “accosted” beforehand by council leader Wayne Fitzgerald.

Cllr Julie Stevenson, the independent councillor for Peterborough, took to Twitter to explain what happened.

“I feel like I’m in an alternate reality,” she wrote.

“Tonight, just before the start of the full council meeting, the leader and a ‘henchman’ (I feel embarrassed for him) accosted me in front of other councillors about my conduct on Twitter.

“Apparently every tweet I write is critical of him.

“I said this was not the case (I’ve just checked, it’s definitely not the case).”

She added: “He also said that if I stop criticising him he will unblock me.

Not my job to praise him

“It’s not my job to praise him so I can’t do that either. I’m elected to serve the interests of our residents. No one else.”

Cllr Stevenson said: “There were a number of witnesses to the exchange which resulted in my leaving the chamber as I felt it wasn’t safe for me to remain.

Cllr Julie Stevenson who has accused Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald of making her feel ‘unsafe’ at a council meeting.

Cllr Julie Stevenson who has accused Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald of making her feel ‘unsafe’ at a council meeting.

“I don’t know what’s going on but this isn’t how it should be. I hope those involved will reflect on their behaviour. I have apologised to the mayor.”

Cllr Stevenson is an independent councillor for Orton Waterville, Peterborough.

She describes herself on Twitter as a “disability rights campaigner with an interest in mental wellbeing. Kindness, strength, community”.

On LinkedIn she adds: “I used to be a thing in digital accessibility and online communities, and I’m passionate about improving our city’s accessibility for everyone.”

Abuse or rudeness- blocked!

Cllr Fitzgerald, the Conservative council leader, professes on Twitter in his biography that “abuse or rudeness – simply blocked!!

“Polite sensible debate welcome otherwise muted! Don’t expect a reply but please email for formal responses”.

Last night he tweeted: “Regrettably I concluded I found a person who has a narcissistic personality disorder which is a mental health condition in which people have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance. They need and seek too much attention and want people to admire them.

“People with this disorder may lack the ability to understand or care about the feelings of others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence, they are not sure of their self-worth and are easily upset by the slightest criticism”.

Earlier he had tweeted: “Great to visit number 10 yesterday and meet with fellow council leaders and hear from Rishi Sunak on his plans for the future and how important local government is to him and what role I and others play in shaping local services.

“He mentioned the government funding we just got too.”

 

 

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