Selston councillor calls for end of face-to-face meetings after testing positive for Covid-19

A Selston councillor who called for council meetings to be held online because of a spike in Covid-19 cases will now miss the first few meetings after testing positive for the virus.

By Lucy Roberts
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 1:57 pm
Nottinghamshire County Council holds its meetings at County Hall. Inset: Councillor David Martin.
Nottinghamshire County Council holds its meetings at County Hall. Inset: Councillor David Martin.

Last month, councillor David Martin labelled face-to-face meetings as ‘Covid super spreaders’ and called for all Nottinghamshire County Council meets to be held online instead.

Now, after testing positive for the virus this week, Coun Martin is set to miss the first few council meetings of the year – the very thing he was campaigning to avoid.

He offered to attend certain meetings online but as legislation dictates, he will not be able to vote on matters if he does not attend in person.

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Councillor Martin, who represents Selston and Underwood for the county council, said: “While I am showing no symptoms of Covid – myself and all my family have tested positive.

“It’s frustrating that I can’t attend meetings but staying away is the right thing to do.

“I have offered to attend meetings online. I appreciate that I won’t be able to vote on the issues before us – but as the longest serving member of the committee – I always contribute and make important contributions.”

Local authorities had moved all meetings online at the start of the Covid pandemic, and this continued until after the local elections last May, when face-to-face meetings were brought back by law.

But after a surge in cases of the new variant has caused infection rates to spike, many councillors are now calling on the Government to rethink rules stopping councils from holding major meetings virtually.

Coun Martin added: “The Government needs to act urgently to stop council meetings becoming Covid super-spreaders.

“It’s bonkers that we are expected to meet in such huge numbers when everyone else is working from home.

“Our work setting flies in the face of most other Covid-related advice and it feels wrong.

“Unless the Government takes urgent action, democracy will be diluted as more and more councillors and officers will not be able to attend meetings.”

All 14 meetings scheduled to be held at County Hall this month will take place face-to-face unless the Government moves to change legislation.

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