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No time for frivolity
I READ with grave concern in The Press of December 13 that the City of York Council leader and his deputy have suggested the placing of restrictions on what registered public speakers may not say at council meetings.
Thankfully, the authority’s audit and governance committee has deferred this. When it is eventually debated, I will register to speak, and use my allocated three minutes to argue in favour of more sensible guidance.
Those of us who occasionally register to speak are very aware that time flies, and three minutes gives little opportunity to be “frivolous” if one wishes to get a message across. Some matters inherently involve party politics, and I will welcome the opportunity to make still political points in a verbal submission if, in my view, that is relevant.
Most councillors graciously accept that lobby groups and public opposition are an integral part of a healthy democracy. Coun Lynn Jeffries quit the Labour group, claiming that it was “dominated by an autocratic leadership which made up its mind on issues before consultation, and told its backbench councillors how to vote”.
Stifling internal and now public debate could unfortunately disaffect many traditional Labour supporters.
Paul Hepworth, Windmill Rise, Holgate, York.
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