South Kesteven District Council split on constitution decision

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A PASSIONATE debate was sparked at full council after it was proposed to limit the number of topics that can be debated at meetings.

The recommendation to allow no more than two notices of motion per meeting was put forward on behalf of the Constitution Committee by its chairman, Coun Ray Wootten.

He said the committee had looked into the issue after complaints were raised about the length of meetings.

Limiting the motions would allow sufficient time to debate each one, which could improve the management of the meetings, he said.

He added: “Some believe these recommendations will stifle democracy but that isn’t the case.”

But not everyone agreed.

Former TA soldier Coun Charmaine Morgan said it reminded her of serving on the front line during the Cold War.

She said: “I was very clear about what I stood there for. Little did I know that after many years of taking part in the democratic process of our country, when I finally became elected a district councillor, within a year I would be forced to stand here, in Lincolnshire, opposing a motion that could have come straight from the lips of a Soviet leader.”

Coun Mark Ashberry also spoke against the plan.

He said: “This will send out a message to the people of South Kesteven that their council wishes to devote more time to talking about itself, than talking about real issues that affect real people.

“This appears to be a deliberate gerrymandering of the constitution to marginalise opposition political groups on this council with what is effectively a gagging order.”

After 27-27 tied vote, a decision was deferred and the Constitution Committee will look into the issue in greater depth.