AN unprecedented 22 questions are to be put by members of Warrington Borough Council at its meeting on Monday – raising the possibility of the council sitting into the small hours.
Ten are being put by rebel councillor Kevin Bennett (pictured) – who is standing as a Trades Union and Socialist Coalition candidate in the Warrington South Parliamentary election in May.
The former Labour member, who left the party after a serious of disputes with the ruling Labour group on the council, has tabled questions to the leader of the council, Cllr Terry O’Neill, the finance chief, Cllr Russ Bowden, the highways chief, Cllr Linda Dirir and the education chief, Cllr Jean Carter.
They cover issues such as the proposed University Technical College – which he describes as “a flop” – fracking, bus services, the Living Wage and the condition of roads and pavements across the borough.
Six Labour councillors are also tabling questions, as well as six Liberal Democrats.
The number of questions has alarmed Conservative group leader Cllr Paul Kennedy.
He says the questions are blatant electioneering and suggests that in the interest of getting the meeting over in a reasonable time, the Mayor should decide that written answers be supplied to all of them.
The council’s standing orders lay down that the time allowed for asking and responding to questions at council meetings should normally be five minutes per questions.
But there is also provision to provide written answers in the event of the total number of questions exceeding half-an-hour.
At a typical council meeting, there might be two or three questions – sometimes none.