A TOP councillor has called for his political rival to quit - claiming he is incapable of fulfilling his council duties because he works abroad.

Cllr Paul Whittle, the Liberal Democrat opposition leader at Fareham Borough Council, has been working for the Saudi government since around the time he was re-elected in May.

But Council Leader Sean Woodward has called for him to stand down claiming he cannot perform his duties in Fareham from so far away and warned him to concentrate on Fareham East - not the Middle East.

Daily Echo:

Cllr Paul Whittle, Lib Dem opposition leader at Fareham Borough Council

Cllr Whittle, who still has a home in Fareham, is helping to set up colleges of further and higher education, a role with a salary around £180,000 a year.

But in the past year he has attended just under half of the meetings he should have. Since May he has only managed two out of six meetings.

Tory leader Cllr Woodward claimed Cllr Whittle had not been to a cabinet meeting since April while he had also failed to attend a Local Government Association conference for which a ticket had been bought for Cllr Whittle at the cost of £500.

He said: “Clearly you can't carry out that role from another continent - it's completely and utterly wrong.

“He should be spending time in Fareham East not the Middle East.”

But Cllr Whittle has hit back, saying that many meetings were about “rubber stamping” and the important work was at full council meetings where he could challenge the leadership and in turn help residents, which he says he did.

He said that he travelled regularly to Fareham and maintained his job had not had an impact as he was still able to communicate with residents.

Cllr Whittle added that despite travelling extensively for his work in the last three years, local residents had still re-elected him.

“You'll find a number of Fareham councillors that do far less,” he said.

“If someone needs a line on their road, bin emptied, dog fouling...I have dealt with all these things in the last few weeks - these are the things that matter to people.

“If any residents have got any concerns I'm happy to address them.”