"Bugger off, you evil git!" Antwerp councillor told

This and various similar insults were the lot of Antwerp city councillors that exceeded their speaking time at Antwerp city council on Tuesday night. Mayor Bart De Wever was keen to introduce a timer to stop councillors from exceeding their speaking time, but something clearly went wrong.

Councillors had expected the spanking new countdown timer to stop at zero, but instead insults appeared on council screens. Rob Van de Velde, the urban and countryside planning city cabinet member, lost his cool when he was told to "Pack your bags, idiot!” "This isn't serious" he told the leader of Belgium's largest party who had been keen to introduce the time.

Mr De Wever responded with a broad smile. The insults had not been intended, but are a standard response when the timer hits zero. The mayor explained that nobody had yet got round to switching off this option. Mr De Wever was able to speak for as long as his heart desired, as, when he addressed the council, the timer fell silent.

'The battery's dead" Mr De Wever responded according to the daily Gazet van Antwerpen.