DISTRICT councillors could be asked not to attend meetings if they misbehave, the authority has ruled.
The council’s executive board has agreed a series of recommendations reinforcing its code of conduct, including requirements to ‘dress smart’ and not insult fellow councillors.
Council leader David Hughes said the authority had been criticised following certain meetings claiming he had been personally ‘embarrassed’ at times.
The motion also called for members to pay attention to debates, respect each other and council officers, listen to comments from both sides of the council chamber and to respect the chairman’s decisions.
Coun Hughes said: “This is just seeking the basic agreement that we will all behave professionally and it doesn’t do any harm to remind members to keep to the code of conduct.”
Concerns were raised that it was unconstitutional for councillors to be asked not to attend meetings.
Coun Julian Roskams, leader of the council’s Democratic group, also branded the requirement for smart dress as ‘absurd’.
“We are not a convention of middle managers,” he said. “Councillors come in all shapes and sizes. We should be encouraging people from all different backgrounds.
“I can’t see the point of this. We have a code of conduct, we have a constitution, this is just adding another layer and I don’t see how it fits in.
“We do need the existing rules to be applied more consistently and fairly. It would be great if I didn’t hear calls of ‘tosh’ every time I stand up to speak.”
Deputy leader Paul Swinburn defended the move and argued the council had no power to exclude councillors from meetings pointing out it was merely a request which they could accept of not.
He added: “It is important we are seen to behave in a professional way in our public meetings. We should look as though we are doing business but we do have councillors who have arrived in Lycra which I don’t think is appropriate.”