VOTING against Cllr Peter Roberts, to be the chairman of Learning, Skills and Economy Scrutiny Committee has been seen as another "shameful" day for Powys County Council by not supporting a disabled councillor.

Before he lost the vote by 24 to 33 and eight abstentions, Cllr Roberts made a personal statement at the PCC annual general meeting yesterday, Thursday, May 17, where he disclosed that he had been dealing with a disability.

There Cllr Roberts who represents Llandrindod South revealed that he has been diagnosed as a having "high functioning" Autism and "Aspergers" syndrome.

Cllr Roberts said that he knew that there was opposition to him carrying on as a scrutiny chairman and decided to reveal his condition by explaining in a personal statement.

He said that appointments with a consultant at times had clashed with meetings of the Chairs of Scrutiny but that he had been able to attend through Skype, but that was not a recognised way of joining Council meetings.

Cllr Roberts, said: "I know there's opposition to me carrying on and I take this opportunity to make a personal statement.

"I have been diagnosed as an adult with high functioning Autism and Aspergers and have been receiving guidance on how to mitigate this at work.

Cllr Roberts went on to say that as these rumours had been going around the Council he felt that he had been forced to make his disability public.

"The Council can reject the application and I'm thankful to my group who gave me full support.

"I urge councillors to consider this carefully as to the message this send out to those with Autism and Aspergers."

After the vote, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Cllr James Gibson-Watt was asked to come up with an alternative candidate for the position.

Cllr Gibson-Watt, said: "It's a pretty shameful day for the authority and I've seen some pretty difficult ones.

"I would have thought members would respect the wishes of the group who had the right to choose the chair of this committee,

"They need to reflect very carefully on what they have done.

"I note that some members abstained and they must have found what they were asked to do unacceptable."

The meeting broke for lunch with the Liberal Democrat group expected to come up with another candidate.

After lunch, Cllr Jackie Charlton, said: "This morning I saw something that went in the face of every disabled person in Wales.

"It takes a lot of courage to talk about your disability especially if it's an invisible disability to a room full or people.

"As a disabled person I have had a lot of support attending meetings.

"This takes us back 30 years, it's derogatory awful and the Council should be ashamed of itself."

Cllr Gibson-Watt was asked again to put forward a nomination for the vacant chair, but declined.

Following the meeting Cllr Roberts, said: 

Commenting on the outcome of the AGM, Cllr Pete Roberts said:-

"Yesterday was exceptionally difficult for me. I have been coming to terms with a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism for just over two years now.

"I took on the chair last year having shared knowledge of my condition with my colleagues in my group and council scrutiny officers and I revealed that condition to the full council prior to the vote.

"For the majority of Independent and Conservative members to then still follow the party line in full knowledge of the situation I face is a kick in the teeth, not just to myself, but to anyone else in public life who is living with an unseen disability.

“The ruling group today threw the council’s equalities agenda out of the window."

A spokesman for Powys County Council said that the chairman of this scrutiny committee needs to be ratified by full council and any nominations by the Liberal Democrat group would need to go back in front of the full council.

Due to how political balance works, this is a scrutiny committee that must have a chairman from the Liberal Democrat group.