Tonight’s meeting of all city councillors in York has been dramatically cancelled with less than 3 hours’ notice.

The decision comes less than 24 hours after the council’s top officer moved the meeting from in person to online, to accommodate a Liberal Democrat request after they indicated some of its councillors would attend the meeting even though they had Covid.

Labour argues if the council is telling York residents that they have to live with Covid, then it should lead by example. Labour says there was no need to move from an in-person meeting to online in the first place, when legally the meeting had sufficient numbers to go ahead, and believes the decision was only taken to benefit ruling Lib Dem-Green administration.

Labour Group Leader, Cllr Pete Kilbane said:

“Welcome to democracy, York style. Residents must wonder why this soap opera carries on, and why this Lib Dem led council cannot get its house in order.

“The meeting being moved online was in all probability illegal, and its little consolation that the council’s top officers have belatedly realised this at the 11th hour.  The impression that this council has no idea what it is doing is getting stronger and stronger with each passing week.

“None of this was necessary if the council had maintained the rules it has had for months where people with Covid stay away and isolate, instead of bending to the threats of ruling Lib Dem councillors.

“Given the history with the previous Chief Executive and the council leader, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that there is a degree of fear about people complying and wanting to stay in a job”.

With the meeting due to commence at 6pm, all councillors at 4.30pm still hadn’t been notified that the meeting has been postponed, although one Labour councillor became aware of the postponement from being included in an email with council officers.

“My Members have serious concerns that rules are being discarded and process is being made up on the hoof”, said Cllr Kilbane. “This is obviously trampling on local democracy and damaging residents’ ability to be properly represented.

“Unfortunately this kind of thing is becoming a common occurrence under this Lib Dem-Green Coalition of chaos”.

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