‘Dodge democracy’ claim over cancelled meeting
Town Hall says the same number of meetings will still be scheduled
05 July, 2021 — By Richard Osley
Councillor Oliver Cooper
CAMDEN Council has cancelled its first big meeting following the coronavirus lockdowns after deciding its chamber is not large enough to be Covid safe.
Opposition councillors have now questioned why alternatives had not been mapped out. Other local authorities have booked sports halls or even theatres as part of temporary arrangements. Camden is one of a number of councils that had objected to a government demand to return to “in-person” meetings.
Conservative councillor Oliver Cooper, the leader of the opposition, said: “Camden’s Labour leadership claimed it had to suspend meetings last year because it was too expensive to hold remote meetings. Now it’s claiming that in-person meetings are too expensive to hold as well. It seems Labour has put a price on democracy: £0.”
He added: “Every other council has held in-person full council meetings and not made the excuses that Camden has. “It could have held it in any number of theatres, sports halls, conference venues, or meeting rooms, as other councils have. They have had months to prepare, and yet decided last-minute to dodge democracy.”
Cllr Cooper suggested Labour councillors did not want to face questions about parking, roadworks and rubbish collections before a by-election in Fortune Green next month.
A Camden Council spokesperson said: “We are currently still following strict social distancing requirements to ensure that all meeting participants are safe. Once further easing of restrictions has taken place, it will be much easier for us to host a full meeting in a way that is safe for everyone.
“Camden Council will still hold the same number of meetings in the civic year as originally planned.”