The Green Group of Stroud District Council voted against a change of constitution but were outnumbered. The change means the quorum for remote Council meetings has dropped from 50% to 25%. This means out of the 51 councillors, only 7 would be considered a majority and can thus make a decision on behalf of the Council.
Cllr Martin Whiteside, Leader of the Green Group said:
“Greens believe decision making should be made more democratic, not less. It is important that decisions are taken by councillors who reflect the different areas, political parties, ages and genders of our district. Reducing the number of councillors needing to be involved in important and far-reaching decisions to a quarter of those elected does not achieve this, democracy is not being done, nor is it being seen to be done. That is why we voted against these proposals.”
Cllr Catherine Braun added:
“No evidence has been presented that online meetings have lower attendance or that the current quorum requirement has been a problem. One meeting was given as an example to justify lowering quorum and that was a meeting that went forward; there was almost a problem. Almost but not quite a problem; this is not a good enough reason. If there are a lack of members able or willing to attend a meeting then the reasons for the low attendance need to be addressed, not lowering the democratic bar”.