Fringe Box



Speaker, Cut Off Mid Sentence At Meeting, Accuses The Council of Unfair Treatment

Published on: 18 Jul, 2014
Updated on: 22 Jul, 2014
GBC Council Chamber Millmead

GBC Council Chamber Millmead

A member of the public, and Wisley Action Group* campaigner, Ben Paton, is angry after being cut off mid-sentence when addressing Guildford Borough Council at its July 8 meeting while a councillor was allowed to overrun his time to complete a prepared speech.

The “unfair” treatment was noticed by those watching a webcast of the meeting who complained to The Guildford Dragon NEWS.

In the recording Cllr Gordon Jackson can clearly be seen overrunning his allotted five minutes despite the Mayor, Cllr David Elms, giving him warning, as is standard practice, that he had 30 seconds left to speak. Some of the other councillors, realising what was happening, were unsettled by the breach of the rules.

Before the meeting, the mayor had given severe warnings regarding the behaviour of members of the public in the gallery and to the public speakers regarding adherence to their three minute limit. It was strictly enforced.

Ben Paton told The Guildford Dragon NEWS: “The rules are there to prevent anyone going on and on and wasting other people’s valuable time.

“But GBC uses the rules unfairly. It cuts off members of the public the second their three minutes is up; yet it allows councillors to make speeches to set up their ‘questions’ to members of the public.

“Cutting off public speakers misses the spirit of the rules and is discourteous. Councillors are often repetitious, sanctimonious, boring, and wrong.”

“It is our ‘privilege’ to have to listen to them repeating the same points over and over again, and theirs to shut us up. And they expect our respect.”

Guildford Borough Council was asked to comment on July 16 but, so far has not provided a response.

*The Wisley action group, or WAG, campaign to prevent the development of sites in and around Wisley.

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Responses to Speaker, Cut Off Mid Sentence At Meeting, Accuses The Council of Unfair Treatment

  1. Neil Pennington Reply

    July 22, 2014 at 8:10 am

    I have a similar complaint. I didn’t get a chance to speak when a councillor objected to my application. I was not informed by the clerk to the planning committee about correct procedure. I have not received an apology from the committee.

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