A Southport councillor is calling for Sefton Council meetings to be suspended until the COVID crisis is over.

Councillor Tony Dawson has written to the Mayor, the Leader of the Council and Chief Executive, June, suggesting that the packed Sefton Council chamber is potentially unsafe for both members and council employees who are required to attend these meetings when they are held.

Councillor Dawson has himself recently recovered from a serious long term chest complaint which still leaves him with vulnerability to infection.

He says:

“Since Cabinet government was imposed on local councils, taking away decision making from ordinary elected councillors, formal Council meetings are anyway possibly the least effective uses of councillors time. We serve our constituents far better using telephone, internet and individual contact.”

“I was not going to attend the Council meeting in April myself anyway, on health grounds, however, we should think of others, not just ourselves. The close-contact environment of the Council chamber is potentially unhealthy for all members so, arguably council meetings themselves should be suspended for the duration of this threat.”

“If, for legal reasons, there has to be an annual Meeting of the Council in May and the situation has not changed significantly, maybe this could be possible to be briefly held in a large sports hall, with members seating being placed at least two metres apart.”

“I am equally concerned that there are implications for employee health & safety as well as the health of elected members. A number of senior officers of the council attend these meetings. The council will also have to look at whether it can make Cabinet meetings safe enough to continue – or whether they should be held by videoconferencing.”