Friday, 24 October 2014

Council rules of debate

In last night’s council debate on the possible return to committees it was interesting to note that usual procedures were suspended and the group leaders were each allowed to speak for longer than usual. I can’t help but wonder why, when they all announced that their groups were not operating under a whip. In the absence of a whip or agreed group line on a subject the leaders can talk only for themselves rather than having a mandate to speak for all their group members. So why give them longer than anybody else? They have no greater right to have a view than other members. I hope that this will not become the norm, particularly with debates like the budget. It would be bizarre if the Leader of the Council and the 3 group leaders who sit in the cabinet all had unlimited time to speak and it would unbalance the debate. The Leader of the Council and the Leaders of the Opposition groups should have the benefit of no limit. The rest should be bound by the usual rules as has always been the case with other cabinet members.

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