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Well, in what is becoming a rather predictable saga and in a repeat of what happened at the start of Pensions Committee on Tuesday evening, Labour councillors once again voted that filming be stopped of this public meeting of Wirral Council’s Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday evening.
The Conservative councillors (except for the Chair who abstained) and sole Liberal Democrat councillor voted against banning filming but were outnumbered by the Labour councillors.
When asked by Cllr Fraser what the reasons were for banning filming the proposer of the motion Labour councillor Jerry Williams responded as follows:-
“Well, we’ve had clear guidance on this issue, here we are, on the other hand ostentatiously filming and recording events from the gallery could be regarded as disorderly and disruptive or otherwise. It is secondly unsettling to point a camera at someone at issue, significantly Members would know as they were being filmed, we have no control over way the film is taken, edited or even produced. I think that’s quite clear.”
Cllr Dave Mitchell, Liberal Democrat spokesperson said, “I’m in no rush, but I want my say in the end. In relation to that particular note, the passages that you’ve read out, what was the final recommendation to Cabinet or to the Council when that was actually dealt with? I’m just reminded while you’re looking it up, if you look behind it your good selves you will see there are Cabinet here, and for eighteen months every Planning Committee was filmed by the local authority. Did I interrupt you guys? Again it goes back to the comments [Cllr] Leah [Fraser] made before, it was stopped for financial reasons. I don’t see anything wrong with it being filmed because I know I’ve got nothing to hide.”
There were many items on the agenda that I’m sure the Wirral public would’ve liked to see (and hear) their local councillors’ views on which included domestic homicides, pavement and grass verge parking, parks modernisation and the Arrowe Park hospital travel plan.
Ironically (and causing much laughter) in the first main item after filming was banned (an item on domestic homicides) the Labour councillor Mike Sullivan, who had earlier seconded the motion banning filming, spoke of his regret that it was “not on the record” followed up with the barbed insult of “people this side [Labour] know the rules, Members opposite don’t”.