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Leeds councillors up in arms over Twitter ban

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Leeds councillors up in arms over Twitter ban

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Local Government

Leeds councillors up in arms over Twitter ban Leeds councillors up in arms over Twitter ban

Leeds councillors have threatened rebellion after they were banned from posting Twitter updates during council meetings.

In a recent debate in the city's Civic Hall the Lord Mayor Councillor Judith Elliott asked phones to be switched off for its duration - preventing councillors from posting Twitter updates - but some councillors are defying the ban.

The Lord Mayor defended the rule, she said: "It is standard procedure to ask for all mobiles phones and other electrical equipment to be switched off at the start of full council meetings.

"This is to make sure that we are not distracted from the business being discussed by incoming texts and phone calls, which can be annoying for others and interfere with the sound system in the council chamber."

But the move has been seen by some members as a restriction of the democratic process and is being fought by Liberal Democrat councillor for Headingley, Jamie Matthews.

On his Twitter feed he posted: "It enhances democracy and I'm fighting the ban!"

Fellow Twitter rebel, James Lewis, a prospective Labour parliamentary candidate for Elmet and Rothwell, posted: "Tweeting banned in today's Leeds City Council meeting!

"2 people in public gallery, no journos so tweets only news from leeds council meeting. Need new policy!"  He added: "I tweeted anyway..."

However, the Twitter war could soon be over as the Lord Mayor offered an olive branch to the rebel councillors.

She said: "If it is felt that it's time for this system to be reviewed, further discussions will need to take place."
 

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