Portsmouth councillors prepare up for NINE-HOUR marathon meeting today

Portsmouth Civic Offices
Portsmouth Civic Offices

PORTSMOUTH councillors are gearing up for what promises to be the longest full council meeting of the year.

They are expecting proceedings to run on late into the evening with multiple questions, matters of urgent business and notices of motion to deliberate. Early estimates put the running length at eight or nine hours.

It will be the first full meeting since political numbers balanced out with the main parties holding 17 seats each after former Tory Cllr Jennie Brent defected to the Lib Dems earlier this month.

Speaking about today’s meeting, which starts at 2pm, Tory leader Cllr Donna Jones said: 'It will be a long meeting because we have got eight motions and umpteen questions. I would expect it to be highly political too.

'The Tories have put in a motion of notice about Victory Energy and the poor decisions that were made there.

'We haven't had a long meeting in a while but politics in Portsmouth has turned around recently. The council is in its most precarious position with no overall control.'

Positions at the council will receive an overhaul following the changes in party numbers.

At the time of the change in administration in May this year, the Lib Dems held 16 seats, and the Tories, 19. Since then Tory Jim Fleming has become a non-aligned independent councillor and Cllr Jennie Brent swapped sides for the Lib Dems, evening out the numbers.

Labour seats remain at five.

At full council the decision will be made to reduce one Tory seat on the licensing committee as well as two from regulatory and scrutiny panels. The Lib Dems will gain a seat on the scrutiny management panel.

For council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson discussing the future of frigates in the city was key. He said: 'I think the motion about frigates will be the most important.

'There's no real work to be done, it will just be councillors talking and asking questions.

'I remember a meeting years ago that started at 2pm and finished at 3.30am. But that was back when we would start deciding the budget.  We don't do that any more.'

The longest recorded full Portsmouth City Council meeting was an eye-watering 14 hours and 40 minutes back in 2004.

On average the meetings last around five hours.