The wording provided by Pettigrew accused that the executive committee of ‘wilful and deliberate withholding of future policy decisions’ with regards to the 2016 AGM. Over the weekend, Pettigrew was given 15 minutes to speak and repeated unsubstantiated claims that the BMC had ‘colluded with the Japanese’ over the name change, as well as bringing up old quarrels relating to the Olympics and IFSC. He complained that 15 minutes was too short, despite the fact he had been given ample opportunity by the BMC to put his point across in Summit magazine, the BMC website, and through invites to various regional Area Meetings through their respective Chairs. Outgoing BMC Vice-President Rupert Davies went on to forensically demolish Pettigrew’s statement, disproving many things that had been stated as fact.
In the past few months, Pettigrew has been accused of deliberately wasting BMC time and money to further his own personal gripes with the organisation. He has provided false information when canvassing votes and deliberately avoided providing BMC members with a coherent argument upon request. The failed motion went on to cause the resignation of BMC President Rehan Siddiqui who accused Pettigrew et al of a ‘politically motivated attack to take control of the BMC.’ Siddiqui’s wife Louise delivered an extremely emotional speech where it was stated:
"This motion of no confidence by Bob Pettigrew, Doug Scott, Dennis Gray and supporters has been a targeted politically motivated attack to take control of the BMC, effectively an attempted coup. This has been to impose their views regarding their dislike for the Olympics, competition climbing, the International Federation of Sport Climbing, promoting & attracting membership from hill walkers and a long-standing perceived issue regarding the maintenance of a toilet block at Harrisons Rocks.
"Doug Scott himself told me on my attaining the Presidency of the BMC that “Climbing is far too important for democracy”. A sentiment that I definitely do not share. I firmly believe that the BMC is a modern inclusive and member-led organisation representing all our interests and not those of a colonial elite from a by gone era.
"The BMC admitted that the Sport England funded rebrand was a mistake and following widespread membership disapproval, the BMC reacted quickly to rectify this. I feel it is now appropriate to inform you that I personally was against the rebrand in Executive Committee discussions. When the majority decision was reached to go ahead with the rebranding. As President of the BMC, I felt duty bound to publicly support the democratic decision of the Executive Committee in mid-May and also that of National Council in mid-June 2016.
"Following the widespread disapproval of the rebrand I and other voluntary directors and the CEO personally spent significant time touring the country to attend BMC area meetings, club meetings and meet with individuals in the consultation process which in hindsight should have happened before the rebrand. I have endured unjustified and highly personal attacks over the issue since.
"Independently of this decision Sport England have expressed concerns on the BMC’S Governance linked in the main to the relationship between the Executive committee and National Council. This in turn is linked to complying with the Companies Act. The motion of no confidence has done the BMC no favours with our image with Sport England and in general. The BMC receive funding from Sport England and many aspects our operations will be at risk if the governance issues are not quickly resolved.
“After successfully leading the BMC through the biggest challenge to its existence in its entire history, I have decided that the time is right to stand down as President of the BMC. The last few months in particular have been very difficult and I have been frustrated that the motion of no confidence has meant that energy and focus of both volunteers and staff has been directed away from the many positive areas which members benefit.
“I have a business to run and a young family to provide for and cannot reasonably make such a huge sacrifice anymore. I have immense pride in the BMC and utmost respect for the excellent and hard-working fellow executives and BMC staff that I have had the pleasure of working with. I will not leave the organisation leaderless and will stay on in the role until a new President or acting President can be appointed.”
The speech was also heckled by various people who were in favour of the motion, which was seen as an extremely petty move by a group of individuals who have potentially caused severe damage with their actions. Siddiqui received a standing ovation from the members attending the AGM.
The BMC will now conduct a governance review, overseen by its national council. Meanwhile, the fate of Pettigrew and his accomplices is yet to be seen, after many have called for the withdrawal of his honorary membership. It was also reported that an unnamed Peak Area Secretary poured a pint over Mr Pettigrew, marking the end of a memorable weekend.
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