Twitter ban proposed for Clevedon Town Council meetings

Twitter feed Ms Geldart sent the tweets from a committee meeting on 18 July

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An attempt is being made to stop a town's councillors from tweeting during council meetings.

Jane Geldart started using Twitter from Clevedon Town Council meetings as she said she wanted to try to get people involved in local politics.

But a motion has been proposed seeking to prevent any councillor from communicating details from the meetings while they are in progress.

The council said it would not comment until after Wednesday's meeting.

Ms Geldart said she had sent four or five messages from the previous council meeting using her personal account @JaneGeldart and had "nothing but positive feedback" as a result.

She said any ban "risked damaging local democracy" and would "make the council less publicly accountable".

'Christmas lights'

The mother-of-two said she had only sent the messages between agenda points and insisted it did not affect her concentration.

The contents of her tweets included references to the town's clock being one hour slow on one of its faces, the official opening of the town's multi-use games area and Clevedon's Christmas lights.

"The messages are very clearly from me and are not making any political statement. I'm just saying what we're talking about.

"Not many people come to the meetings. My hope is they'll hear what's going on and want to get involved.

"If my tweets get banned that could send the wrong signal to the town.

"MPs can tweet from the Commons why can't I keep the people of Clevedon up-to-date?" she added.

The motion, from Councillor David Shopland, aims to "prevent any misunderstanding or misinterpretation through the issue of incomplete information".

"No councillor attending an ordinary or committee meeting shall communicate details of that meeting in any way with persons not present whilst the meeting is in progress," he proposed.

Mr Shopland is also putting another motion forward, which if passed, would force councillors to switch off their mobile phones during all council meetings.

In a statement to the BBC he said "uncorroborated and incomplete information" from council meetings was "dangerous", adding the official minutes were the "only record" of any meeting.

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