I WAS disappointed by the joint approach of the council’s opposition group leaders in resorting to an attack on the Labour group following last week’s budget council meeting (Letters, February 28).
The Labour group raised legitimate questions around extending the length of the meeting due to access requirements and care arrangements. I know they’re legitimate, as I’m one of those with access requirements.
The response from opposition leaders seems, in contrast, to throw their toys out of the pram and declare it as an assault on democracy.
I would be happy to work with opposition groups to understand how we can make council meetings more accessible and open to debate. But I wish they hadn’t resorted to political stereotypes on this occasion when their request to extend the meeting came so late in the day.
In any case, some might consider a three-and-a-half-hour meeting more than long enough for a set of supposedly mature adults to debate important issues, as did indeed happen at the meeting of February 27. Used carefully, that length of time allows about 40 different speeches.
Coun Neil Barnes, Labour, Hull Road ward, Cromwell Road, York.
• OPPOSITION leaders carping about last week’s budget council meeting not running late into the evening was not only premature but a blatant piece of political opportunism.
As it was, every group budget proposal was proposed, debated and voted on with a legal budget set by the council before 10pm when the meeting was due to end.
Group leaders should receive some credit for ensuring their groups didn’t speak repetitiously, as has been the case at previous meetings, so the meeting was managed well and finished on time, with comprehensive debate on all sides of the chamber.
The Labour is happy to discuss looking at the timings of meetings and when meetings take place, but it will not agree to extend meetings for the sake of politicians talking more hot air when three and a half hours allows for a fully inclusive and democratic debate. Extending meetings for this purpose is just the kind of thing that puts people off coming into local politics.
Coun Neil Mcilveen, Huntington Road, York.