Council should not have set budget in private

Representatives from Islington Green Party, together with residents, attended the last Islington Council meeting in order to ask questions, and were sitting in the council chamber. The gallery was filled with members of the public who were clearly angry about the proposed cuts.

The Mayor seemed to struggle to keep order. Once the time for public questions had been exhausted (only three out of 28 questions from the public answered), the Mayor called a 10-minute adjournment at which point the councillors disappeared, never to return, and the gallery filled with police who started to physically evict people. This seemed very heavy-handed as a response to heckling.

Those present in the chamber heard that the meeting was continuing in Committee Room One, so made their way along the corridor. They were met by a locked door.

Islington Green Party believes that the council acted unlawfully in setting a budget in private. There is, quite simply, no power under the Council Constitution to hold a private session of this nature. That this Council chose to do so in relation to the Budget meeting, the most important meeting of the entire year, is especially concerning.

This is yet another example of making decisions that affect residents without proper debate. We call upon the council to hold a fresh budget meeting. The council must set the budget properly and lawfully, after a free and open debate – and in public. – Emma Dixon, Islington Green Party.