Councillor storms out of meeting

An angry councillor stormed out of a meeting at Breckland Council yesterday branding the authority a “disgrace to democracy”.While members of the full cabinet were approving minutes of previous meetings Keith Gilbert wanted to reignite a debate about contracting out planning and building control services which had been discussed at the cabinet meeting on February 24.

An angry councillor stormed out of a meeting at Breckland Council yesterday branding the authority a “disgrace to democracy”.

While members of the full cabinet were approving minutes of previous meetings Keith Gilbert wanted to reignite a debate about contracting out planning and building control services which had been discussed at the cabinet meeting on February 24.

He felt there had not been enough consultation on the subject and that it had not been open.

But chairman John Labouchere told him that if he had “nothing new or pertinent” to say then there was not enough time to go over the subject again considering they had already given it a two hour debate at cabinet.


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William Nunn added: “Most of the points you are raising were raised at cabinet and we would not look to raise them again here.”

Mr Gilbert walked out of the chamber saying that Mr Labouchere had refused him free speech.

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“I want it noted that the council has refused a debate and is therefore a disgrace to democracy,” he said.

After the meeting Mr Gilbert said it was his job as an opposition member to offer constructive criticism but he felt that anyone with negative comments was being gagged.

“I have spoken to several members who are very much against this idea of giving a private company a say in planning issues which is a core service that Breckland Council should provide.

“The way the council is working makes my position worthless and I feel like full council meetings are now just a self-congratulatory rubber stamp. I just could not stay in that meeting after being told I could not say what I wanted to say.”

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