People have expressed anger over the failure of Thanet South MP Laura Sandys to appear at a special Thanet Question Time meeting held last Friday (November 8) in Broadstairs.
Ms Sandys had agreed to be on the panel of Thanet Question Time several weeks ago, but cried off the day before the meeting was due to go ahead.
She emailed an apology for her non-appearance, citing parliamentary business and the need to see an unnamed potential investor in Thanet.
Will Scobie, her Labour challenger at the next election, did appear and the meeting went ahead.
But audience member Filiz MacNamara said: “I am furious Laura Sandys didn’t appear. She is our MP. This was a great opportunity to see her in debate with her Labour rival. She should have been there. Is she afraid of Scobie or something?”
One of the meeting’s organisers, Christine Tongue, said: “I’m very disappointed Laura didn’t come, especially as we held the meeting on a date agreed some weeks ago with her.
“But she has said she will come to a future meeting and I hope she will hold to her word. These sorts of meetings are vital to a healthy local democracy.”
The meeting, which concentrated on environmental issues in Thanet, was very well attended. Topics discussed included over-building, Manston Airport and the controversy over the Ramsgate’s Royal Pavilion.
This is extracted from Thanet Council’s film of the full council meeting on October 3rd 2013. At this meeting Thanet Council ejected a member of the public for trying to record the meeting. This was the second time they had thrown someone out for filming. Ironically it was at this meeting that they decided to make the rules on filming council meetings even more stringent.
Anyone who’s put a freedom of information (FOI) request into Thanet council should go back and ask for the full facts – because the chances are the council hasn’t answered their request properly.
The Information Commissioner’s office has written to the council warning them about the poor way they handled a FOI request from Margate B&B owner Louise Oldfield.
The office has also threatened the council with “more formal action” if they discover similar breaches of the rules in the future.
Norman Thomas, editor of Thanet Watch magazine, points out this has big implications for anyone who’s put in FOI requests to the council in the past.
“The FOI Commissioner’s office’s letter means that it’s almost certain that the council hasn’t properly answered many FOI requests and people have been given only a fraction of the information they’re entitled to see.”
“I would urge anyone who’s sent in an FOI in the past to get back in touch with the council and ensure they’ve given them the full facts relevant to their request.”
For more details on how Thanet council fouled up on handling FOI requests see the November issue of Thanet Watch in newsagents and shops across the isle.
If you have trouble finding your issue, ring Thanet Watch on 01843 604 253 or 07989 070843.
SPECIAL SECRECY REPORT: Why has Thanet council been warned over their handling of freedom of information requests? Why don’t they want people filming their meetings? What have they got to hide?
THANET’S TROLLS: Vicious individuals are using the internet to bully and abuse people on the internet. Why? Who are they?
A “PARASITE” WRITES: A young person describes what’s like signing on in Thanet.
GOD’S OWN AIRPORT – Why has Stagecoach millionaire Ann Gloag bought Manston Airpot?
THE BIG SEE: How a near-death experience changed Mr Gas’s attitude to the world.
ALIENS IN THANET! …and a Jack Russell “with powers”, in the latest episode of Paradise Isle.
OLD MOLE’S DIARY: Dreamland shenanigans? Surely not!
HENGIST HITS BACK: Greg Holmes makes the case for a traditional view of Thanet’s history.
●RAMSGATE’S LOST SCENIC RAILWAY
●HOW MANCHESTER SAVED PUNK
●WHY 10 PEOPLE WILL DIE IN THANET THIS WINTER
…AND all the events and entertainments on the Isle in November.
IN SHOPS & NEWSAGENTS ACROSS THANET NOW. RING 01843 604 253/ 07989 070843 IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE FINDING A COPY