Calls for Cherwell District Council to support an environmental bill have been thrown out.

A motion put forward by Green councillor Ian Middleton at a full council meeting on Monday called on councillors to sign the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (CEE).

It was introduced to Parliament by Green MP Caroline Lucas and seeks to ensure that the UK plays its fair role in limiting global temperatures to 1.5°C.

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A central mechanism for achieving its aims would be through citizen’s assemblies, but Conservative councillor George Reynolds said he did not support these.

He said: “I am violently against citizen’s assemblies. It was said that it will not try and take over the democratic system that has ruled this country for thousands of years - but it will. I think if we’re going to take the population with us on climate change, we cannot use a sledgehammer.”

Conservative councillor Ian Corkin said the Bill was a matter for Parliament, not the council.

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He said: “This is Parliamentary business it’s not the job of this authority to instruct MPs on how to scrutinise it, less still how to vote.

“Whilst it's right that those who feel strongly should lobby as we’ve seen this evening, whilst it's right that they should pick up that lobbying to their MPs - that’s their democratic right - it’s wrong to seek to make this authority their mouthpiece on issues that are completely outside of its control.”

The motion was voted against by 30 councillors, voted for by four and 10 abstained.

Mr Middleton said after the meeting: "I was dumbfounded at the response of the Conservatives in so vehemently opposing a bill that sets out to ensure the UK makes a right and proper contribution towards mitigating global climate change.

"They were openly hostile to the idea, with some councillors making increasingly bizarre comments about the intentions of the motion. They were also strongly opposed to involving the public in these issues through citizen’s assemblies.  As usual it seems that the Conservatives talk a lot about localism but are opposed to anything that puts that principle into practice."

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