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Posted by: John Brace | January 15, 2013

Wirral Council’s Pensions Committee bans filming and public from public meeting on “health and safety grounds”


Wirral Council bans filming and public from public meeting Bizarrely at the start of the Pension Committee all members of the public were asked to leave by the Chair (who seemed to conveniently forget that the public have a legal right to be there).

What followed was twenty minutes of discussion as to whether to allow filming at the meeting. Quite exactly what took place during that twenty minutes, I can only report based on the snippets heard as Cllr Harry Smith’s voice reverberated through the closed-door as he told the Committee how “upsetting” he found filming. Getting into his stride he used one of his favourite words “political” not just once but multiple times and said it should be banned because I was a member of a political party (untrue). He said he had no issue with anyone else filming who was “non-political” but then tried to say I am a member of the Liberal Democrats (which I’m not), then contradicting himself in the same sentence by referring to me as an independent. As Peter Cook put it once, “You may choose if you wish to believe a transparent tissue of odious lies, that streamed on and on ….. that is entirely a matter for you.”

When it was pointed out by another councillor that this was irrelevant to the issue of filming the meeting, Cllr Harry Smith just looked even more irate, seemingly unused to any councillor (or in fact anybody) having the temerity to tell him he was being irrelevant.

When the public returned Cllr Ann McLachlan read out a recommendation that at least from where I was sitting couldn’t be heard. Another councillor then tabled an amendment to “current Committee meeting” as it was subject to a review. Cllr Adrian Jones asked him to repeat what he’d said as he hadn’t heard it. He repeated it, Cllr George Davies shouted “current” at Cllr Adrian Jones followed by the Chair saying “at the moment”.

Despite separate votes being required for the amendment and resolution only one vote was taken, 8:5 on the amended resolution.

The Chair, Cllr Patricia Glasman then said, “So the resolution is carried, OK, so ladies and gentlemen, Mr and Mrs Brace, you may not film this meeting tonight on the basis that your equipment has not been…, it does actually say that you would have to have a health and safety agreement to use your equipment and that that’s because of errm a review, which is currently Council is looking into the issue of filming.”

John Brace, “Would it be ok if I filmed without the tripod, is that the issue?”

Chair, Cllr Patricia Glasman, “Errm, well the tripod is one of the issues, but no, we’ve had a resolution, asking you not to film the meeting.”

John Brace, “Can I have a copy of the resolution if possible?”

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  1. [...] another link to John Brace’s blog [...]

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  2. [...] johnbrace.com/2013/01/15/wirra… [...]

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  3. There seems to be a little history between you & councilor Harry Smith & looking through your blogs it would appear that the councilor is full of himself & appears to be left of Stalin in his political beliefs. His arrogant attitude & loud mouth has had him suspended from the council in 2009 for 5 days for a foul mouth tirade & everything he has done since shows him a bully & loudmouth & has a personal hatred for anybody other than members of his own party & even with them he has scant regard.
    I have met people like Mr.Smith in my own life & have stood up to them & their bluster. There is word for them but I cant put it in print but the sooner these loudmouth’s are put in their place the better & I suggest that if filming is resumed please don’t point the camera at him,just the sound will do & let him pick up his £16k plus expenses & ignore him.

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    • Yes there’s a history, but you’re a harsher critic of Cllr Smith than myself.

      Filming was resumed tonight, Cllr Harry Smith wasn’t there.

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  4. [...] another link to John Brace’s blog [...]

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  5. […] Health and Safety Executive has also shot down the suggestion that its regulations bar filming – a claim made by Wirral council to justify a filming ban last year. (The HSE view can be seen […]

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  6. […] titled Lights, camera, democracy in action that referred to problems I had earlier this year filming a meeting of Wirral Council’s Pensions Committee where the reason of “health and…. Your press release also referred to the Health and Safety Executive’s Myth Busters Challenge […]

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