Labour in Midlothian has strongly objected to a decision by the SNP to “water down” the powers of the Petitions Committee.
Changes proposed by the SNP administration have been passed, meaning that a council official will now be the final decision-maker on which petitions will be accepted, rather than councillors on the committee.
And petitions will no longer be accepted on issues where there is an ongoing consultation.
Labour councillor Jim Muirhead sits on the Petitions Committee.
He said: “Under the SNP’s new rules, we won’t even be allowed to decide to hear a petition – it could be ruled out of order by an official.
“The SNP are effectively hiding from the public behind technicalities and un-elected council officers.”
Speaking at last week’s full council meeting, where the changes to the committee were made, councillor Owen Thompson (SNP) defended the changes.
Also at the meeting, councillor Ian Baxter (Green) said: “I think the inference that council officers are having too much influence on decision making is a bit over-played.
“I don’t see any difference between this and a planning application, to make sure all the boxes are ticked.”
Read more on this in the November 14 edition of the Midlothian Advertiser.