KIRKLEES’S ruling councillors are afraid of facing the public, says an opponent.
Kirklees Labour leader Clr Mehboob Khan wants the Conservative Cabinet – which runs the council – to move its meeting times from 2pm to 5pm.
He said: “It would give many more people the chance to attend – as is their right – to ask questions and put forward their point of view about the decisions that are being made in their name.”
On Wednesday councillors voted to move monthly council meetings from 2pm to 5pm, but rejected a Labour suggestion that Cabinet meetings should also start later.
Clr Khan said: “These days the real decision-making body is not the full council meeting but the Cabinet, which is made up of just nine Tory councillors.
“I can only believe that the Conservative refusal to take on the suggestion of changing the Cabinet meeting time is because the Tory ruling group wants to keep the public away and are afraid of being asked difficult questions by local people.
“This lack of openness and attack on public involvement makes me and other Labour councillors very angry.”
But council leader Clr Robert Light disagreed.
He said: “Each council body should decide when it meets.
“I’m not about to tell some group that I’m not a member of – like the Huddersfield North Area Committee – when and where it should meet.
“Likewise, the members of the Cabinet should decide when the Cabinet meets.”
And the Conservative criticised Labour councillors for spending time discussing the issue at Wednesday’s meeting of the full council.
Clr Light said: “The only thing they could find to talk about was the timing of Cabinet meetings and they spent about three-quarters of an hour on it.
“It shows they are an irrelevance to this council and the issues that affect people’s lives.”