AN Isle of Wight Councillor has denied claims he was shopping and sleeping during a meeting to discuss controversial plans to remodel the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service.

Cabinet member for Infrastructure and Transport, Ian Ward, was pictured on social media during Monday’s scrutiny meeting with his eyes closed, and scrolling through a shopping list of trousers.

However, Cllr Ward has denied claims he was not paying attention.

He said: “The scrutiny meeting I went to, I had nothing on the agenda, so in reality I did not need to be there.

“But like most of the cabinet I went. During the three hour meeting, I tried to use my time productively.”

Cllr Ward said he worked off his phone, as did most other councillors: “I get all my e-mails to my phone.

“I came across an e-mail from a retailer and I spent a few minutes going through it. I was not shopping.”

Cllr Ward also said the photo of him sleeping was just badly timed.

“I was not sleeping at all. I had been in since 9am, so I may have looked tired, but that’s understandable.”