Redcar & Cleveland's Labour controlled Council today altered the petitions scheme for the Council, limiting them only to residents of the Borough and attaching minimum numbers of signatures before they can be debated by the Council.
Petitions to be debated by the Council is now set at "1500, but reduced to 500 where the petition related to a local issue, affecting no more than two electoral wards within the authority"
Petitions requiring attendance by a senior council officer to answer questions at an overview and scrutiny committee meeting is now set at "750, but reduced to 100 where the petition related to a local issue, affecting no more than two electoral wards within the authority."
Petitions and signatures will only be accepted from residents of the Borough.
A Conservative amendment also restricted the time that petition organisers have to present their petition to five minutes.
Lib Dem members opposed the changes arguing that there should be no restrictions.
There could be many reasons why visitors or residents from outside the Borough may want the Council to consider a petition. It should not be beyond the wit of Councillors to assess the relevance or merits of a petition regardless of how many signatures or who sent it in. Previously a petition signed by only three people was considered equally with one signed by thousands.
The Labour Councillors keep going on about being open and transparent but in reality they are selective and choosy.