Call For Public Say At Merton Meetings

Vote planned on more public participation

A call is being made for members of the public to take part in all future full meetings of Merton Borough council.

At present members of the public are only allowed to participate in meetings of the full council twice a year, a situation Iain Dysart, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, calls "an affront to local democracy".

Now the Lib Dems have got together with the Merton Park Independents to put forward plans for public participation.

A motion to be debated at the full council meeting on Wednesday (February 1) is proposing the Council make an effort to "encourage public questions at every full council meeting" for a year-long trial, which the Lib Dems hope will become permanent.

Councillor Dysart (left) said: "The Council talks about being accountable to the public and encouraging an open and transparent democracy. But talk is cheap, and it is time the Council took some action to encourage public participation.

"Allowing the public to put their questions to the Council at every meeting in the future would be a good start.

"Liberal Democrats have always been committed to sharing decision-making powers with members of the community and fostering public participation in local democracy.

"I hope that allowing the public to directly hold their local councillors to account at all council meetings will prove a useful addition to the process of encouraging community involvement in local politics. I am extremely grateful to the Merton Park Independents for co-sponsoring this motion and hope that it will lead to further cross-party cooperation in the future".

January 31, 2012