‘Change the petition rules’ urges Portsmouth politician

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PETITIONS should be presented and debated before big decisions happen, a top councillor has warned.

Mike Hancock, the cabinet member for regeneration at Portsmouth City Council and also the MP for Portsmouth South, is concerned petitions are not having their full impact on decision-making.

At a full council meeting this week, two petitions – both with more than 1,000 signatures – were discussed after the cabinet had already made a decision.

The two petitions regarded £1m cuts to Sure Start centres in Portsmouth and closing public toilets in the city.

As reported, both failed to reverse the decisions.

The council’s rules state that petitions of more than 1,000 signatures must be debated by full council.

Mr Hancock told fellow councillors: ‘To have petitions after a decision has been made is completely worthless.

‘To have it afterwards is no use to anyone whatsoever.’

He added: ‘We have to do something about it. The most important place for a petition is directed at where the decision is going to be made.

‘I don’t want to see people going through a repetition of this. People want to be involved in local government.’