Divine intervention was sought by one member attending the inaugural Moray Council meeting following the local government elections.
Originally planned as the first face-to-face gathering in the local authority’s chambers since pandemic restrictions were introduced over two years ago, it was decided to move today’s debate online following an outbreak of Covid.
But it was plagued by technical difficulties including problems with the webcast system which allows members of the public to watch live online, prompting a delay of over an hour and a half before proceedings could get under way.
Those taking part could not hear contributors, and there was confusion with some officers thinking councillors had become disconnected when they were still there.
At one point SNP Buckie councillor Sonya Warren asked how she could cast her vote, as she had joined via her mobile phone and there was no option to participate in the electronic voting system used.
The problems became too much for the new Conservative co-leader of the council Kathleen Robertson, who could be heard saying “Oh God!” several times then “Jesus man!” when Labour councillor for Elgin North Sandy Keith came on camera to let them know he had not fallen out of the meeting as suspected.
SNP councillor for Fochabers Lhanbryde Shona Morrison told members she had been contacted by people listening in saying there had been some untoward comments made.
She later Tweeted: “First lesson to the new administration of Moray Council is to mute those mics!”
Speaking after the meeting, Ms Robertson said she was sorry for her language.
She said: “I apologise. There’s new technology and the meeting was delayed because that technology wasn’t working.
“We have new equipment as well that we’re getting used to, and it’s very frustrating.”
There are 11 Tory councillors on the 26 seat council with eight SNP, three Labour, two independents, one Green and one Liberal Democrat.