Gloucestershire councillors sleeping in child services meeting

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Media captionPoliticians were caught napping during an important meeting

Councillors in Gloucestershire were spotted falling asleep during one of their most important meetings in recent years.

The county council ordered an independent review of children's services on Wednesday after "serious and widespread failures" were found.

Four councillors were spotted nodding off, including the deputy leader.

Ray Theodoulou blamed his heart medication for making him "a little drowsy".

"Much as I would rather not discuss my medical issues in public, I have a serious heart condition, which requires me to take a range of medication," the Conservative councillor said.

"After five or so hours of meetings, that sometimes makes me a little drowsy.

"It doesn't make me sleep and I continued to listen throughout."

Fellow Conservative Rob Bird said he "didn't think he fell asleep", but added: "It was a very warm room, I think I might have closed my eyes for a moment."

He insisted he was "absolutely" able to perform his duties.

'Meetings drag'

Opposition councillors were not immune from a bout of democratic doziness.

Liberal Democrat member John Cordwell admitted he "might have nodded off very briefly, but I was aware of what was going on the whole time".

Labour's Graham Morgan was more forthright though, stating: "Those meetings drag a bit and I'm 66.

"I don't need to concentrate at that point because I've read it all beforehand and I don't work on that kind of thing.

"Nothing needs to be done differently. It's not out of disrespect. You've only got to look at the House of Lords; they're all asleep."

Their soporific stories did not placate commenters on social media.

Charlotte Stirling described Councillor Morgan's comments as "disrespectful and arrogant", while Patricia Havard called on the quartet to resign.

"Totally unacceptable, no matter what they put forward to explain their poor performance," she said.

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