Fury as Sunderland Council blocks all councillors from asking questions in public
By Niall Hodson
100% of questions submitted by councillors in Sunderland ahead of a meeting next week have been blocked by Civic Centre bosses - prompting fury from elected representatives on Wearside.
All questions submitted by councillors from all four political groups at Sunderland City Council - Liberal Democrat, Labour, Conservative and UKIP - have been rejected by Civic Centre bosses.
It means the meeting of all 75 city councillors scheduled for Wednesday 23rd June won't have questions to the ruling Cabinet from any councillors.
The move has prompted fury from the city's Liberal Democrat opposition.
Lib Dem group leader Niall Hodson said:
"This is a shameful attempt to stop criticism of council decisions in public and it's just not on. The Council's job is to get things done for local people - not run away from responsibility and refuse to face the music.
"Liberal Democrats had submitted questions on issues that matter to the people we represent - like why the pool at the Raich Carter Centre is still closed, why the grass isn't being cut in Grindon, reinstating lollipop men and women in Ford Estate, the future of Millfield Nursery building, about changes to bin collections, street cleaning, libraries and parking - just to name a few.
"Council chiefs are saying these issues can only be raised in private and that the ruling Cabinet cannot be questioned during public meetings. Its like something out of a banana republic or a soviet state.
"Labour's Council bosses need to get a grip and get this decision to ban all questions by elected councillors scrapped."