Barrier remains for electing the working public

Central Beds Council
Central Beds Council

A motion to hold more council meetings in the evenings has been defeated.

At a meeting of Central Beds Council Independent Councillor Mark Smith put forward a motion that overview and scrutiny committee meetings be held in the evenings so working people can be councillors.

But the motion was defeated 40 to nine with all Conservative councillors voting against it and all Lib Dem and Independents in support.

Independent Councillor Adam Zerny of Potton said: “How they can they possibly hope to attract a cross-section of the community to be councillors if they insist on holding all committee meetings during the working day?”

Councillor James Jamieson, leader of the council, said evening meeting would increase costs, some councillors would be unavailable as they have to attend ward meetings and senior officers’ working hours would need to be changed. Also discussing key issues late at night would impact on decision quality.

He said: “Delivering the best outcomes we can for residents does require a substantial commitment but residents are our priority rather than the convenience of some councillors.”