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Bexley Council criticised by Eric Pickles as lack of public disruption is revealed

PUBLISHED: 10:55 23 August 2013 | UPDATED: 10:55 23 August 2013

Eric Pickles has criticised Bexley Council. Picture: PA/ Suzanne Plunkett

Eric Pickles has criticised Bexley Council. Picture: PA/ Suzanne Plunkett

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Eric Pickles again criticised Bexley Council for its stance on filming in meetings as it was revealed only two committees in the last two years have been completely stopped due to public disruption.

Deputy council leader Cllr Colin Campbell criticised deliberate and planned attempts to disrupt meetings - but other than the public realm scrutiny committee in June when the police were called to eject Nicholas Dowling, only one other meeting has been completely scrapped in the last 24 months.

No member of the public has been formally warned over their conduct in the same time period.

Mr Pickles, the Communities and Local Government secretary, released a report last week where he name-checked Conservative-run Bexley Council: “Some councils are still continuing to oppose an independent press. Bexley Council said audio and visual filming would breach its agreed protocol.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “The Freedom of Information request you refer to relates to meetings that have actually been stopped completely.

“Each time a meeting is stopped time is wasted for everyone present including other members of the public.

“Our current process allows for filming at the discretion of the chairman and that remains unchanged. However, we have already made plans for a report to be considered at the Constitution Review Panel in September 2013 to consider the issues and options for photography, filming and recording.”

What do you think about filming in council meetings? Contact the newsroom on 0208 477 3858, email robin.cottle@archant.co.uk or tweet @BexleyTimes.

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