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Calls for greater respect to be shown by councillors in Flintshire as revised behaviour rules are approved

Calls have been made for councillors in Flintshire to show greater respect to staff and one another after a revised set of behaviour rules were approved.

It follows several ill tempered debates in meetings over the last two years where heckling has taken place and insults have been exchanged.

The renewed policy states that politicians should not make personal remarks and allow each other to speak without interruption.

It also advises them not to mention officers in any political remarks and to ensure staff are treated with respect at public meetings held in local communities.

During a full council meeting held yesterday one opposition councillor said he welcomed the proposals as he had been the subject of remarks from the Labour benches.

However, Cllr Richard Jones, who is part of the Independent Alliance group, questioned whether the list of dos and don’ts was too detailed.

He said: “There’s two that I believe are unnecessary as if you treat someone with respect you wouldn’t do that.

“I’m not sure if we’re being over prescriptive.

“I’ve often stood here and had a barracking from this side a lot of times and I do appreciate this.

“Part of this is to stop that kind of behaviour that’s just happened again.”

But council leader Ian Roberts hit back by claiming comments had also been fired in the direction of Labour councillors.

The authority’s chief officer for governance, Gareth Owens, said there had been several occasions where councillors had implied officers were acting for political reasons.

He said the rules were not designed to restrict freedom of speech, but to remind them of their responsibilities.

Cllr Roberts called for politicians from all groups to be more respectful.

He said: “I can perhaps remember on a number of occasions when the barracking has been the other way.

“If we are to have respect for each other then respect is a two-way street, not a one-way street.

“As group leader, I have asked members within the Labour group for respect across the chamber.

“I’m sure we will get that, but there has to be respect across the chamber to ensure parity.”

Councillors voted to approve the revised policy at the end of the debate.

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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