The Lord Mayor of Southampton has defended himself after being criticised for wearing a T-shirt while on duty.

On Saturday, June 8, Cllr Dave Shields attended an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Southampton Area Talking Echo, wearing the casual black top and cream trousers.

However, in a letter to the Daily Echo, a reader said they were “disappointed” at the civic leader’s choice of outfit.

Lord Mayor of Southampton, Cllr Dave ShieldsLord Mayor of Southampton, Cllr Dave Shields (Image: Zara Breckell)

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The letter read: “As he was wearing his chain of office, I assume he was there in an official capacity (he was in the front row, and he was cutting the cake) and I would have expected him to have smartened up a bit.

“A suit would have been more suited to the occasion, as Federation Vice President Mike Wood wore. Disappointed to have seen him looking so casual.”

Cllr Shields at the Southampton Area Talking Echo celebrations (Image: Zara Breckell) Responding to the criticism, Cllr Shields said no-one at the event had a problem with his dress code.

He said: “There was no recommendation that I needed to wear smart attire and no one at the event raised that issue with me.

“There have been occasions where I had to wear a suit and that wasn’t one of those days and like I said no one at the event ever mentioned what I was wearing.”

Since becoming mayor in May, the Labour councillor has often been seen in his full regalia - notably as part of the celebrations when Saints were promoted back to the Premier League.

He added: “I would have liked this person to have written to me to raise the issue directly with me. If they have a problem, they should have written to me rather than writing to the Echo.

“It’s not the way you should do this."

The event was to celebrate a charity which reads newspapers for blind or hearing-impaired people.

Cllr Shields in his full regalia. Picture: LDRS