Eric Pickles says home town council has “lost the plot” for refusing to allow public to film its meeting

5 Jul

Story HERE.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said his home town’s council had “lost the plot” after it ejected members of the public who tried to film a meeting. Campaigners said they wanted to film the Keighley Town Council meeting so the authority could be held to account.  Police escorted 11 people from the public gallery on Thursday evening.

Afterwards Mr Pickles posted on Twitter: “#keighleytowncouncil seems to have lost the plot. A good council is one open to public scrutiny.”  He later added: “For the town council in my old home town to make such a fool of itself is embarrassing.”

‘Herded down steps’

Elizabeth Mitchell, 65, was one of those ejected at about 19:00 BST.  She said people had been asked not to film before the meeting but said the campaigners had brought with them guidance issued by Mr Pickles last month which states “councils should thus allow the filming of councillors and officers at meetings that are open to the public”.

“The mayor said if we didn’t stop they would call the police, which she did. About nine or 10 officers came into the public gallery,” Mrs Mitchell said.  “We had to be herded down the steps.”  Mrs Mitchell said they would try to film the next full council meeting on 5 September.

The mayor, Sally Walker, could not be contacted for comment.

Last month Richard Taylor, 33, was told the police would be called unless he stopped filming a Huntingdonshire District Council meeting, but was eventually allowed to continue after council members intervened.

SORRY, MR PICKLES, IF YOU WANT COUNCILS TO BE TRANSPARENT YOU WILL HAVE TO FORCE THEM TO DO IT BY PASSING A LAW – GUIDANCE DOESN’T WORK.

WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU ABOUT COUNCILS WHICH FORBID FILMING – COUNCILS WHICH ARE ELECTED FOR AND BY THE PEOPLE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO THEN REPRESENT OPENLY AND TRANSPARENTLY?

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One Response to “Eric Pickles says home town council has “lost the plot” for refusing to allow public to film its meeting”

  1. Paul Hayward July 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    Blimey! that 10 officers could be made available so quickly beggars belief. what is going on? what is REALLY the problem with meetings being recorded / filmed??? some people need to wake and smell the coffee…. come on, it’s only a camera!!

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