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Hyndburn Conservatives walk out of council meeting in protest at MEP's address

The Tories left the council chamber en masse shortly before the end of Thursday’s full council at Accrington Town Hall to complain about Labour Euro MP Brian Simpson being invited to address councillors.

Conservative councillors walk out of the chamber in protest

Hyndburn's opposition Conservative group staged a protest walkout from last night’s council meeting.

The Tories left the council chamber en masse shortly before the end of Thursday’s full council at Accrington Town Hall to complain about Labour Euro MP Brian Simpson being invited to address councillors.

The boycott left the chamber half empty, with just Labour members and a sole Independent staying to hear from the MEP.

Click here to replay our live coverage of the meeting

See video of the walkout below ...

In a statement, shadow council leader Peter Britcliffe claimed the council meeting was being used for "political propaganda" and would bring the office of Mayor into disrepute.

The Conservatives are unhappy at changes to the format of council meetings, introduced by the new Labour executive.

Leaders’ questions are now taken on topics limited to the council agenda, while questions on other topics may be submitted in writing by members of the public.

Coun Britcliffe said: "It really is a ridiculous situation when we allow people who have not been elected to this council to address the meeting, but on the other hand the leader of the council is not prepared to take questions from the floor."

Mr Simpson shrugged off the rebuke, joking that he was sorry for causing a walkout.

After the meeting council leader Miles Parkinson disputed his opposite number’s accusations.

He said: "We are bringing in people who can add information - whether it’s the MP or MEP or leader of LCC. I think it’s informative that they can come and answer questions and I’m open to suggestions from any group. There was no politicking – the only person politicking was Peter Britcliffe.

You can ask any question of the leader, if it’s relevant to the policies as laid out in the agenda. What happened under the previous administration was you asked a question and the leader simply wouldn’t answer it and you got into Punch and Judy politics and spurious nonsensical answers."

Coun Parkinson also drew attention to a public question submitted to last night’s meeting, in which resident Lesley Wolstencroft claimed the general conduct of councillors was often "distasteful and disrespectful", including "barely audible profanities" and "unnecessary point scoring".

Click here to replay our live coverage of the meeting

 
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