July 20th 2022.

Lewes district Green Party release:

Green councillors across Lewes District are backing a Local Government Association (LGA) call for the reinstatement of remote hybrid council meetings. They say emergency regulations during the Covid lockdowns that gave councillors the choice of attending in person or remotely via the Internet should become a permanent feature.

Green MP Caroline Lucas last week tabled an Early Day Motion in parliament calling on the government to make democracy more accessible, “By making permanent the express provision for hybrid council meetings.” The move away from hybrid meetings applies only to England; remote council meetings brought in during the pandemic continue to work effectively in Wales.

Lewes District Green councillor and Parliamentary spokesperson, Emily O’Brien, who is also Deputy Chair of one of LGA Boards, said: “Greens believe the reinstatement of hybrid meetings is essential to the democratic process. Enforcing attendance in-person only meetings restricts disabled people and people with caring responsibilities to fully and fairly participate. Research by the LGA revealed that following a return to forced in-person meetings 72 per cent of councils saw a drop in councillor attendance at statutory council meetings. We need to make it as easy as possible for people from all sorts of backgrounds and circumstances to become councillors and for those elected to represent their communities. That means the reinstatement of hybrid council meetings - permanently.”

Green MP Caroline Lucas added: “Democracy is precious - it belongs to us all. Disabled people, carers, single parents, and all others must have open, easy access to the democratic processes. I urge everyone to ask their MP to sign.”

Pictured: Councillor Emily O’Brien pictured in Lewes, with Green MP Caroline Lucas.
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