Free speech restored in Desborough

Labour led Council restores free speech

At the Desborough Town Council meeting held on the 21st October 2021 it was decided to remove all restrictions / requirements on the agenda item ‘Representations from members of the Public’ and amend the Standing Orders accordingly.

Council Chair Phil Sawford said –

‘I served on the council for 20 years 1977-1997 and for all of that time it was possible for local residents to attend and speak on any matter they wished.

Over recent years people were told that they could only speak on items that were on the agenda. This was changed a few years ago to a new system whereby members of the public had to fill in a form or contact the Town Clerk to indicate that they wanted to speak and specify the issue that they wished to raise.

I did feel that some of the rules that were introduced had more to do with stopping people from having their say than encouraging them to do so’

Councillor Tim Healy, who attended meetings for many years as a local Journalist, said-

‘I welcome this change as we want to encourage transparency, openness and the right to free speech. A thirty minute time slot will apply to the agenda item and there will be some restrictions in terms of the number of speakers on a particular item, the length of time that each person can speak and certain legal requirements but otherwise local residents can attend the meeting (or join us on Zoom) and raise any local issue they want.’

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