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Councillor storms out of council meeting
2:30pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
A SUSPENDED Labour councillor has spoken of his ‘disgust’ after being barred from asking a question at a council hearing.
Clr Kevin Bennett (LAB - Fairfield and Howley) stormed out of Monday’s full council meeting after discovering a question about the council’s living wage would not be heard.
He said: “I am disgusted at this latest turn of events and am calling for a full investigation.
“I tabled a perfectly legitimate question, asking for the council to re-consider introducing the Living Wage, a scheme which would see our lowest paid workers get an increase in their pay packets.
“To the astonishment of assembled councillors at Monday night’s meeting, it was revealed that a member of the council leadership had approached the council solicitor and secretly arranged for my question to be struck off the order paper.
“It’s now absolutely clear to me that there is a concerted attempt by this council leadership to gag the voices of people in Fairfield and Howley, who I represent.”
Clr Bennett was suspended from the Warrington Labour Party earlier this year after voting against his own party’s budget proposals.
A Labour Party spokesman said: “Ultimately it is the decision of the Mayor to decide what is discussed or not discussed at council meetings.
“As far as the Labour Party is concerned, we recognise that individual members, to fulfil their representative duties, may without consultation speak and ask questions in meetings of the council on behalf of their constituents or other community interests.
“Where the tendency of such interventions is likely to be in conflict with the policy of the group, it shall be the responsibility of the individual member to ensure that the relevant lead member is consulted. In this case, no such consultation took place.”
Clr Bennett will ask for an investigation into who decided to remove his question and is considering referring the council to the Local Government Ombudsman.
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