Sad day for democracy

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I WRITE as one of the county councillors refused the right to speak at the East Sussex County Council budget meeting last week.

In an unprecedented move the Conservative-controlled council moved a guillotine motion that prevented most Liberal Democrat councillors from speaking up for their town and their community.

It had been my intention to support a costed and well presented budget by my colleagues.

I wanted to speak in favour of spending more money on pavement repairs, permanent resurfacing instead of the infill for potholes, giving pensioners a 9am start for concessionary fares, continuing to support children and youth services and help for vulnerable people.

All these are issues that relate in particular to my area of Devonshire but also to the whole town.

I had indicated my intention to speak in the debate to the chairman and my name was on a list but along with five other Liberal Democrats we were gagged.

I have been an elected county councillor since 1996 and have always spoken out on local issues.

This was the first time I have been denied my right to speak.

To be treated in this way was a sad day for democracy and for Eastbourne.

Councillor Beryl Healy

Devonshire ward