Gagging politicians is ‘not acceptable’ says minister

Oxford Mail: Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis

A GOVERNMENT minister has criticised a town council’s proposal to ban councillors from talking to the media without getting written permission first.

Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said democratically elected politicians should not be restricted from speaking freely to the media and public following publication of Witney Town Council’s new draft media policy.

The draft policy states: “Councillors and staff, other than the clerk or communications officer, cannot in their official capacity provide verbal or written statements to the media, or write articles for publication, using the media, about the council’s business decisions and actions without the council’s prior written consent.”

Mr Lewis said: “Local democracy requires robust and open scrutiny by elected representatives.

“It is not acceptable for any council to try to systematically restrict the rights of councillors to communicate their views to the press and public.

“Indeed, the Localism Act amended the law to make it clear that councillors can speak up and champion community issues.”

Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron previously said the council must work “in an open and tranparent way”.

Town council spokeswoman Polly Inness said the draft policy was issued to councillors to “consider, amend and discuss at a future meeting”.

She claimed it was taken from guidelines by the National Association of Local Councils.

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:45am Fri 18 Apr 14

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

Well your 'the Minister' don't just criticise, do something about it you silly little man.
Well your 'the Minister' don't just criticise, do something about it you silly little man. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 0

10:31am Sat 19 Apr 14

the wizard says...

Time to get this escalated and inform the likes of Dozey Dorward that this policy is simply not acceptable, nor will it be tolerated by the public. We pay our rates and we have the right to know what is being said and done and by whom. They are voted in and they can be voted out. As previously stated, if they want this brand of society then go to Russia, Putin always has vacancies for the sly two faced back handed sort of people that love this type of power and subterfuge.
Time to get this escalated and inform the likes of Dozey Dorward that this policy is simply not acceptable, nor will it be tolerated by the public. We pay our rates and we have the right to know what is being said and done and by whom. They are voted in and they can be voted out. As previously stated, if they want this brand of society then go to Russia, Putin always has vacancies for the sly two faced back handed sort of people that love this type of power and subterfuge. the wizard
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree