A ROW over extending the time limit on council debates continued at the expense of discussions over introducing a local Track and Trace system.

Worcestershire county councillors again argued over a time limit on motions spending 45 minutes - half of the allotted time - debating whether parts of meetings should be extended to allow for more discussions.

The time limit on motions had been reduced from 90 minutes to an hour during the pandemic with meetings moving online. Two motions were debated by councillors during the full meeting on Thursday (November 12) - one which celebrated the role of Worcestershire rivers and one on the length of the debate.

But the length of time spent on the two motions meant that a debate over introducing a local Track and Trace system for Covid could not go ahead. There was also no time for a debate reviewing the support available for kinship carers.

Conservative councillors were angered by accusations they were wasting time during debates.

Green councillor John Raine had accused Conservative councillors of “wilfully wasting time” by filibustering through motions and had called for each political group on the council to be given 30 minutes every meeting to present at least one proposal.

He said: “We do think it very unfair, as well as wholly undemocratic, that one political group should be able to prevent motions from other groups being introduced and properly discussed on the day by filibustering and wilfully wasting the allotted time with successively verbose and repetitive contributions from members of the same political group, and on uncontroversial subjects too.”

Independent councillor Charlie Hotham, who criticised the time limits on motions in September, said debate and scrutiny was being stifled because of the restriction.

He said a “disproportionate” amount of time was being used to debate “soft” motions that nobody would disagree on.

Cllr Marcus Hart, speaking on behalf of the council’s Conservatives, said the council should not be unpicking its constitution bit by bit and called for the plea to be rejected. “The notion that members of the Conservative group are filibustering is frankly fanciful. Whilst filibustering tactics it might be to one person, it might be an important contribution to another, so it is somewhat objective. To suggest that members of the administration are wasting time and acting undemocratically is frankly outrageous.”

Conservative councillor Adam Kent said the call was “political posturing.”