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Borough councillors call for extraordinary full council meeting over exclusion of elected member

Nine councillors have called for an extraordinary full council meeting
Nine councillors have called for an extraordinary full council meeting

Nine borough councillors from different parties are calling for an extraordinary full council meeting to discuss the exclusion of an elected councillor.

Cllr Mark Vesey (Green), Cllr Sam Cross (Ind), Cllr Norman Murphy (Ind), Cllr Jonathan Dodds (Ind), Cllr Roxanne Murphy (Ind), Cllr Janet Jefferson (Ind), Cllr Tony Randerson (Lab), Cllr Rob Barnett (Lab) and Cllr Eric Broadbent (Lab) are asking for clarification after an elected councillor has been banned from entering the council premises and attending council meetings by the council's Chief Executive.

In a formal requisition served today on Scarborough Borough Council Mayor Councillor Joe Plant, the nine councillors said:

"In light of recent Judgments, rulings and barristerial opinions, we call upon the Leader and Cabinet to satisfy this Council that actions by the Authority to exclude/disbar any elected member from entering Council premises, attending meetings of Council/Committees and engaging with Council Officers, are lawful, proportionate and compliant with due process, as set out in the Council's adopted and published Constitution, Protocols and Procedures, under the laws of England and Wales.

"Should the Leadership fail to satisfy any member of this Council that a lawful, justifiable and defensible process is in place, the following Motions are to be placed before the Council:

1) That the Council immediately reinstate, without restriction, any member or members so disbarred;

2) This Council commission a member-controlled, full, unlimited and independent external enquiry into the disbarment of elected members."

The group is concerned with the legality of the move and said that the requisition has been served "to achieve clarity".

In the formal document the group said: "The Chief Executive's action appears to run counter to recent Court Judgments handed down in relation to similar disbarments and/or sanctions imposed elsewhere in the country, and counter to legal opinion published by barristers and other experts in governance law, all of which indicate that, under the terms of the Localism Act 2011, only a Standards Committee may impose limitations of any kind on elected members' attendance.

"The fundamental democratic principle at stake is that it cannot be right that the voters' choice can be nullified by the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen."