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Council backs Manning's drive to open up democracy

July 17, 2013 12:02 PM

Campaigners fighting to get county council support for a petition will only have to generate 3,000 signatures to trigger a debate after Councillor Ian Manning celebrated victory with his plan to open up democracy.

Cllr Manning received the backing of full council for his motion to drop the number of signatures on a petition required to trigger a debate from just over 15,000 to 3,000. He also won support for a call to political groups to give residents raising questions in the chamber a direct response rather than a written reply.

Only the Liberal Democrats supported the whole motion, however, with Labour, UKIP and the Tories not wanting public questions to get a response.

"I have been fighting for this for months," said Cllr Manning, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Resources, "so I am delighted that common sense has now prevailed.

"We were elected by the people to represent them and we should be listening to them and addressing their concerns as quickly and as efficiently as we can. Now petitioners have a chance to see real debate in the chamber on the issues that concern them.

"Obviously I am disappointed all my proposals to open up council to the public weren't supported - and pretty shocked Labour in particular felt that they felt they shouldn't have to respond to residents questions in public."