A COMPLAINT has been made to St Helens Borough Council after a man was heard muttering offensive language during a council meeting that was being streamed live.

A virtual meeting of the council’s overview and scrutiny commission took place on Monday last week.

At the start of the meeting, Labour’s Lynn Clarke, the former cabinet member for environmental services was selected as the new chair of the committee.

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As the appointment was confirmed by one of the council’s officers, a man’s voice could be heard muttering the words “soft arse” under his breath.

The camera then shifted to Cllr Clarke, who laughed, before quickly composing herself and moving on with proceedings.

This week a council spokesman confirmed that a complaint has been made to the monitoring officer about the incident – specifically an allegation that the remarks were made by Bold councillor David O’Keefe.

Cllr O’Keefe, who is the leader of the Green Party on St Helens Borough Council, has flatly denied the claims.

He says there is “not a shred of truth in the allegation” that he made the remarks.

He added: “It is being dealt with by the monitoring officer, and further comment would be inappropriate.”

The last time the overview and scrutiny committee had met was in February and since then the panel’s chairman moved into the council’s cabinet and therefore had to relinquish the role.

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Subsequently, a new chairman had to be nominated and approved by the committee, which is why Cllr Clarke, who stepped down as the cabinet member for environmental services in March following a prolonged period on sick leave, was selected for the role.

A recording of last week’s meeting has been uploaded to the council’s YouTube channel, although the bizarre incident has been edited out.

During the incident, the camera stayed fixed on the council officer dealing with the appointment of the new chairman so it was not clear who made the remarks.