Dear Mr Neill,
I refer to your letter dated 23 Feb to all council leaders about transparency at meetings.
Until last week I was always free to go into open council meetings with a camera. I dont use it there, I simply carry one with me most of the time.
However in response to your letter Bexley council went to the expense of printing a new leaflet banning all cameras and other recording devices from their public meetings. This is typical of their perverse disregard for both guidance and the law.
I have been informed by Bexley police (the council rarely responds to any communication from me) that if I attempt to enter next Tuesdays public meeting with a camera, to use or not, and a council official asks me not to I will be arrested.
This two fingered salute in your direction needs to be tackled vigorously and I trust you will be the man to do it.
This is necessarily a very abbreviated account of recent events but it is an accurate one. Full details are available on my blog www.bexley-is-bonkers.co.uk
Thank you for attempting to introduce transparency to local government but clearly you have a way to go yet.
Mr. Neill is the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government and MP for Bromley and Chislehurst.