Leeds MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Hilary Benn has given Labour’s backing to government proposals that councils in England should allow the recording and videoing of council and committee meetings.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Benn said it was to be welcomed that a new generation of bloggers is relating to politics in a different way.
“We will support … the proposal that councils in England should allow the recording and videoing of council and committee meetings. In this day and age, big changes in technology make recording and videoing readily possible, and I cannot see the difference between sitting in a meeting, listening and writing down what is being said, or—for those who have shorthand—taking a verbatim record, and making one’s own recording,” he said.
Leeds City Council decided yesterday to stick to its current position – of not allowing videoing of any council meetings or audio recordings of licensing and planning meetings -until it sees the detail of the government’s plans to enshrine the rights of the public to “report, blog, tweet and film” in the Local Audit and Accountability Bill.
It’s also seeking advice from the Department for Communities and Local Government over what it sees as the thorny issue of members of the public recording “quasi-judicial” meetings that deal with planning and licensing matters.
You can read a full transcript of what both Benn and Secretary of State Eric Pickles had to say on the issue here.