Petitions need fewer names to get debated

HMS Queen Elizabeth at Portsmouth Naval Base

BAE awarded seven-year contract to service ships

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PORTSMOUTH City Council has voted to reduce the number of signatures needed on a petition to see it debated by councillors.

It means any petitions about decisions that have not already been made now need 500 names, down from 1,000, to make it into the city chamber.

Councillors made the decision on Thursday, while plans to up the threshold to 5,000 were quashed.

Lib Dem leader of the council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said he wanted to give people an incentive to get a petition into the authority before a decision is made.

‘At the moment there’s no incentive to do that,’ he said.

‘It’s much more useful to try and affect a decision that’s not yet been made.

‘I want to try to find a way to encourage people to do that, because it’s much easier then to do what people want.’

He added the council has rarely received petitions until recently.

Existing rules for petitions relating to decisions already made by the council stay in place. Those petitions will still need to get 1,000 signatures.