‘Limiting Debate is Undemocratic’ says Glos County Lib Dems

June 7, 2012 11:34 AM

Liberal Democrats have called for more time to be allowed to debate the big issues affecting Gloucestershire by proposing to extend the 30 minute rule for debating motions at full council to at least 1 hour.

The proposal will be submitted to the Constitution Committee at Shire Hall for debate on Monday 11th June at 3pm.

The time allowed to debate motions differs widely amongst local authorities across the country from a maximum of 30 minutes in Gloucestershire to no time limits in councils such as South Gloucestershire and Cumbria.

Cllr. Ceri Jones (LD, Bishop's Cleeve) said: "I strongly opposed this undemocratic limit when it was imposed some time ago. Back in January, even the Leader of this Council, Cllr. Mark Hawthorne remarked that 30 minutes was not enough time to adequately debate and therefore support a motion being put forward by my group on Badger culling.

"Regardless of the subject of the motion, I fervently believe that democracy is about being allowed to hold controversial debates in council without being held back by unnecessary time restraints.

"There are many benefits to extending the time for debate in council. Allowing more time encourages careful consideration, reflection and more reasoned responses. It also enables more councillors to speak on behalf of the people they represent."

The Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group and Constitution Committee member Cllr. Jeremy Hilton who will be seconding the proposal said: "The Tories must stop stifling debate and constructive opposition.

"Our proposal to remove this restrictive time limit will allow democratic debate and discussion to take place, ensuring that better decisions are made for the people of Gloucestershire."