A Kirklees Council meeting had to be re-run at the 11th hour – because a party leader wrongly attended it.
A meeting to discuss changes to the council’s constitution and was attended by its members, plus Clr Andrew Cooper, Green Party leader, as a substitute.
Party leaders are excluded from the Corporate Governance and Audit Committee – yet no-one noted Clr Cooper’s attendance as breaking a rule until afterwards.
It meant the meeting was “null and void” and had to be re-run just hours before the agenda items needed formally signing off by Annual Council.
Clr Cooper said: “I didn’t realise I wasn’t allowed to attend and no-one at the meeting raised an objection.
“I was trying to be helpful and that is that. We didn’t have a business manager appointed, I wanted to do the responsible thing and make sure we had representation at the meeting.
“It was an error and I think people are making too much of it.”
Conservative leader Clr Robert Light said: “As soon as I saw the minutes I questioned why he went as party leaders are not meant to go.
“It meant the meeting had to be re-run, which costs in time and having to re-arrange to get people there. Andrew should have known better.”
A Kirklees spokeswoman said any costs incurred from holding the further meeting would have been for the provision of drinks and officer time, adding: “A provision in part of the constitution is that a group leader may not be a member of this committee and it was therefore considered appropriate for a further meeting to be called prior to the committee’s recommendations being proposed to the meeting of Annual Council.”
There were two officers from the Legal and Governance service present at the original meeting, along with the Director of Resources and the Assistant Director for Legal, Governance and Monitoring.