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DERBY U-TURN ON CABINET SECRECY

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The leader of Derby City Council, Robert Jones, has announced that the authority's monthly cabinet meetings will be...
The leader of Derby City Council, Robert Jones, has announced that the authority's monthly cabinet meetings will be held in public from now on.

The Derby Evening Telegraph reports that the move came after Bob Laxton, Derby North MP and former city council leader, said he favoured an open cabinet system.

In November, Mr Jones said Liberal Democrat calls for open meetings were 'arrant nonsense'. But last night he told the policy and resources committee: 'To prove that we do not have anything to hide, the executive will meet in public and will continue to do so.'

Earlier he said: 'I think there is an anomaly in the fact that we are members of the Local Government Information Unit, which is pressing for amendments to the Local Government Bill and I do not want to be publicly at odds with the MP for Derby North and ex-leader of the city council.'

Mr Laxton said: 'It's very important with government, both nationally and locally, that people should have the greatest possible access to information because it's all down to the spending of public money. The public should be aware of what is being done on their behalf.'

Maurice Burgess, the Liberal Democrat group leader, said: 'I think it's a very positive step. Now they have conceded it I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt and see how well it all works.'

Philip Hickson, a Conservative councillor, said: 'The battle has been won but not the war against secrecy. I think they will look for other ways to so things behind closed doors.'

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