RUMBUSTIOUS former Hart Chairman Peter Carr's last council meeting on Thursday saw pandemonium as he clashed with the Cabinet Member for Communications, Coun. Sean Holden, who, he claims, called him a liar.
Coun. Carr's daughter Lucy Ellis, herself a former councillor, was so incensed by Coun. Holden's remarks that she walked out of the public gallery and told him: "You should be ashamed of yourself." There were also boos from the public gallery.
Coun. Carr then announced that he aimed to return to the council in a year's time. He will be standing as an independent and says that four other independents will be standing in the Fleet seats.
He accused a "Dogmersfield Mafia" of dominating the council and added: "I wonder if there is anyone living in Dogmersfield who is not on Hart Council?"
Coun. Carr said the independent campaign would be based on asking candidates where they lived so that Fleet people would represent Fleet. He added that one councillor, Janet Pearson, had moved away but was still holding on to her seat.
But Coun. Holden said Coun. Carr had been a disloyal member of the Conservative group and had taken against him because as Chief Whip he had had to "bring him to account" when he voted against a group motion.
Coun. Holden said that although he now lived in Dogmersfield, he had lived in Fleet West from 1971 to 2000 and he grew up in Reading Road South. He pointed out that Coun. Carr did not live in the ward he represented.
The issue that sparked off the whole row was a question put by Coun. Carr asking if Coun. Holden had banned Hart officers from using certain words in press releases or public notices. Coun. Holden denied this and when Coun. Carr said he did not believe him and asked him to resign, he alleges that Coun. Holden replied: "You are a liar and have always been a liar."
Coun. Carr said he intended to report Coun. Holden to the council's standards committee for misleading councillors. He said he would produce proof of the instruction.
But Coun. Holden said he had told an officer that he preferred not to see Blairite buzzwords in council documents -but this was not an instruction. He added: "I believe in free speech - I would never officially instruct officers on what words they can and cannot use."
He said Coun. Pearson had only recently moved away and she would not stand for re-election when her term expired. She was still attending meetings.
Coun. Holden also denied that he had called Coun. Carr a liar and said that his shorthand note at the time said he referred to him as "somebody who brought a motion based on rumour and that dealt in routine lies."
The Star understands that the words Coun. Holden preferred not to see in council documents were "sustainability, target, strategy, social inclusion and empowerment."