Labour councillors say they launched a ‘silent protest’ at Lichfield District Council in a bid to highlight the lack of engagement from other members.
The full council meeting last night (April 11) lasted just 20 minutes after a lack of questions to the controlling Conservative group.
But Labour said they were determined to make a point.
Cllr Sue Woodward, leader of the Labour opposition group, said: “It was a risky strategy to show how little Conservative Members do to represent the genuine concerns and interests of their residents.
“If any Conservative member had spoken, we would have joined the debates. But they didn’t.
“This action was our protest against the lack of commitment, interest and representation for residents on the part of the vast majority of the Tory councillors.
“Attendance at meetings is only one measure but, even of those who turn up, few rarely add any value. Even if they have read their council papers, it’s rare for any of them to have done any background reading or research into the issues being discussed. They simply sit back and take a free ride.
“There are very honourable exceptions, of course, but I believe that they are as frustrated as we are by their colleagues’ inaction.”
The lack of debate came despite recent issues included in reports such as the new garden waste charge, plans to build on green belt in Burntwood, the outsourcing of leisure centre management and affordable housing.
Labour’s deputy leader, Cllr Eric Drinkwater, said the silent protest meant just two councillors spoke apart from those delivering reports.
Deputy Opposition Leader, Cllr Eric Drinkwater added:
“It’s the Labour members who work hard to represent our residents and, to be frank, we are fed up of doing the work and not being listened to,” he said.
“It was clear from all the puzzled faces that they expect us to continue to do all the work and then ignore us. They can start thinking again.
“The sole Lib Dem councillor was also absent again and did mot attend the previous budget meeting recorded in the minutes as ‘probably the most important meeting of the year’.”