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Angry words exchanged during Keighley Town Council filming protocols debate
8:50am Friday 4th October 2013 in News
A list of protocols governing how members of the public film Keighley’s council meetings has been agreed, but not without a furious exchange last night.
One member of the public pointed and shouted angrily at Councillor Tony Wright during yesterday’s Keighley Town Council meeting.
Coun Wright had been complaining about critics of the council posting “distressing” material online, which was being used to target individual council members.
He was interrupted by a man in the public gallery who loudly accused Councillor Wright of having previously “called people Nazis”.
Coun Wright responded by describing the man as “a raving lunatic”.
The clash took place in Keighley Town Hall as the council prepared to vote on a set of filming protocols proposed by Coun Peter Corkindale.
The rules state that people wishing to film must give three working days notice in writing.
They add that filming must provide unedited coverage of the total content of each specific agenda item, and must not be intended to cause embarrassment or ridicule.
Additional protocols say individual councillors or members of the public are entitled to decline to be filmed, and that no children or vulnerable adults can be filmed without consent from a parent or guardian.
Coun Ron Beale argued that there was no need for such restrictions. “Open up the doors and let people film, let them record,” he said.
“What have we got to hide? If they want, people can film me till they’re blue in the face.”
However, the councillors present voted overwhelmingly in favour of the protocols, with 14 members accepting them and two abstaining.
Coun Wright stated: “I’m against anyone filming me in this chamber. I want that to be recorded.”
Last night’s vote was the latest stage in an acrimonious dispute which saw 11 members of the public evicted by police officers from a July Keighley Town Council meeting.
The parishioners were escorted out after refusing to stop filming the proceedings.
Keighley's mayor and town clerk argued that the parishioners had breached the council's rules, and that there is no automatic right to allow public filming of its meetings.
Commenting on the protocols before last night’s council meeting, Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said: “Other than the sensible recommendation regarding the filming of children and vulnerable adults, this appears to be yet another example of the town council commissioning a big hammer to crack a harmless nut.
“I’ve said it so many times before, but if council members have nothing to hide and conduct themselves in a responsible manner, what have they got to lose from greater public scrutiny?”