Portsmouth MP steps up petition campaign

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A PORTSMOUTH MP is urging the council to review its rules over the handling of petitions.

As previously reported in The News, Mike Hancock, who represents the south of the city, told councillors at a meeting he was concerned petitions weren’t being treated seriously enough.

It came after two petitions about public loo closures and cuts to children’s centres – which both had more than 1,000 signatures – were discussed after the cabinet had already made a decision.

Mr Hancock, who is also a cabinet member and councillor for Fratton, has now brought the matter to the attention of the council’s chief executive David Williams.

In a letter to Mr Williams, he wrote: ‘I find this bizarre and disrespectful to those people who helped organise and obtain the signatures.

‘I would therefore urge you to look at what we can do to change the rules to make sure petitions are discussed before decisions are made.

‘I believe I am right in thinking that petitions can also only be discussed at full council meetings and when the petitions relate to decisions taken by the full council that is fine – again, provided they are discussed before relevant decision are taken.

‘However, often decisions are taken by executive committees or individuals and, should they obtain the requisite number of signatures, it is important petitions are discussed at these committees or make their way to the executive member before the decision is taken.’