Fury over Midlothian Council’s private meetings plan

Councillor Ian Baxter
Councillor Ian Baxter

Midlothian Council has come under fire after paving the way for community councils to discuss “specific topics” in private.

Elected members discussed draft proposals for the running of local community councils at a ‘special’ meeting of the council on April 22.

All 16 community councils in Midlothian must currently make their formal decisions in public.

However, the Draft Midlothian Scheme for Community Councils document suggests a model constitution in which groups can adopt a process which would “allow specific topics to be discussed in private”.

At the special meeting Councillor Ian Baxter (Green) proposed removing that clause, which is contained within an appendix titled ‘Constitution Guidance’.

But his amendment, which was seconded by Councillor Bryan Pottinger (Lab), was defeated by nine votes to five.

He said: “I feel very strongly that all references to even the possibility of private meetings being held by a community council should be removed.

“This is a matter of openness and transparency. I feel that it’s a dangerous precedent.”

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