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RA leaders reject more open meetings

December 16, 2004 6:00 PM

At December's meeting of the Borough Council, Cllr Jonathan Lees was heavily criticised by the leaders of the RA Party for "daring" to suggest that the public should be allowed to ask questions at the start of meetings. Cllr Lees said later, "We obviously touched a raw nerve tonight!"

Cllr Lees was supported in the debate by County Cllr Colin Taylor, who believes that the borough council has for too long been a "closed shop". At present in some meetings the chairman only allows one person to ask one question.

The proposal put to the meeting was for a pilot scheme, to allow members of the public the opportunity to ask questions for (say) 30 minutes - with the chairman ensuring that the questions covered as many topics as possible - similar to that already operated successfully by Surrey County Council's local committee in Epsom & Ewell.

Jonathan Lees concluded, "I couldn't believe some of the negative statements that the RA Party leaders were making tonight. They obviously have a lot to hide! However, we will not give up and will continue to push for open and transparent local government. It's what the public deserve".