Flintshire Councillors are set to vote on an ‘illegal’ motion to ban people from entering council offices with a copy of The Sun newspaper, and to ban Sun journalists from entering council offices – including to report on council meetings.
Shadow Local Government Secretary, Janet Finch-Saunders, said the motion was a “typically spiteful” move from a Labour Party which no longer believes in the principle of free speech, or in a free press.
Since the era of devolution, Welsh local government law has diverged from its English counterpart. But the key extant legislation in this case is the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 – passed by no less a figure than Margaret Thatcher, in her maiden speech to the House of Commons.
Commenting on the motion, which is scheduled for the 27th September, Mrs Finch-Saunders said:
“This is a childish and typically spiteful move from a Labour Party which no longer cares for the fundamental principle of free speech, and which no longer backs a free press.
“It’s an attempt at full-on state censorship of the media, and another bizarre turn from a Left Wing which no longer has the courage to debate its opponents.
“It’s also illegal and, if passed, could leave taxpayers open to legal proceedings in future.
“Whilst we might not like certain newspapers – and might question the impartiality of other platforms – we have a right not to consume their output. But we shouldn’t have a right to ban them.
“This is how dictatorships start, and Jeremy Corbyn should know a thing or two about them.”
Notes to Editors:
The council motion has been proposed by Deputy Leader Cllr Bernie Attridge and Cllr Kevin Hughes it lists four points;
- Not allow any person to bring the Sun newspaper into any Flintshire County Council premises, nor allow the same newspaper on any Flintshire County Council premises.
- Refuse access to Sun journalists to any Flintshire County Council premises.
- Ensure Flintshire County Council does not advertise in the Sun newspaper.
- Encourages Flintshire County Council to support the ‘Total Eclipse of the S*n’ campaign in any reasonable way possible – subject to Full Council agreement.