Town Hall drama: Labour’s lost the plot – more playground politics
Last night’s full council meeting at Wallasey Town Hall certainly had some firsts:-
a) the first time a Labour councillor has refused to answer a question at Public Question Time
b) the first time two journalists have been asked to leave (highly irregular and illegal) from the Council chamber merely for exercising their rights under Wirral Council’s constitution to ask questions (and as a result irking Cllr. Harry Smith).
As I really doubt Cllr. Harry Smith is aware of the law on this I will quote it here (with a little underlining of the relevant points):-
"Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960
1 Admission of public to meetings of local authorities and other bodies.
(4) Where a meeting of a body is required by this Act to be open to the public during the proceedings or any part of them, the following provisions shall apply, that is to say,—
(c) while the meeting is open to the public, the body shall not have power to exclude members of the public from the meeting and duly accredited representatives of newspapers attending for the purpose of reporting the proceedings for those newspapers shall, so far as practicable, be afforded reasonable facilities for taking their report and, unless the meeting is held in premises not belonging to the body or not on the telephone, for telephoning the report at their own expense."
As Cllr. Smith well knows the press table is situated in front of the Labour benches in the Council Chamber. There are no "reasonable facilities" in the public gallery as there’s no large flat surface to write on.
It got so bad that to sum up the words of one member of the public (previously a councillor) in the public gallery "My brain hurts and I’m going home". Cllr. Foulkes gave long speeches about how he believes in scrutiny and democracy. However not it seems in respect of any Labour Party councillors. His own councillors heckled both members of the public during the time they asked questions, Cllr Adrian Jones slandered me (why can Labour never get their facts right?) and behaved like spoilt children who’ve had their toys taken away throwing a temper tantrum merely because a couple of people asked one of their councillors questions.
As if Labour councillors wasn’t bad enough and I am being serious now (surely you can’t be serious I hear you say) a senior officer was even heard making racist remarks about my wife. Officers are supposed to be politically neutral and adhere to the officer’s code of conduct.
I am a person who believes in freedom of speech; but until the Labour Party learns some respect and manners; I will continue to be ashamed that I’m represented in Bidston & St. James ward by three Labour Party councillors.
However, I here is a list of the notices of motion/amendments at last night’s meeting, which can be found on Wirral Council’s website.
Bill Norman was made the new Returning Officer. Jim Wilkie will carry on for the next 9 months as Interim Chief Executive.
P.S. I am getting well used to the fact that a 15 minute adjournment ends up being half an hour; why don’t they just say they need 30 minutes to start with?
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