The firm approach taken by Roger Evans from the startof Mayor’s Question Time today shows how easy it is to prevent shouting, heckling and catcalls at public meetings. When shouting threatened to break out later, Mr. Evans immediately halted the proceedings, and said the hecklers were on a second warning and would be thrown out at the next occurence.As far as I know, there has been no apology from Joanne McCartney at the appalling breach of the rules last Wednesday, at Peoples’ Question Time in Wood Green, when the proceedings were reduced to the level of a bar room brawl. Preventing the Mayor from being heard is taking an unfair political advantage, and is cheating. Like the Labour party over the economy, unless people admit they are in the wrong and make reparation, it is impossible to believe they will not take advantage again at the first opportunity, given half a chance.
It is also in the rules that members treat each other with respect. The behaviour of the Greens and several Labour members today was the height of rudeness. In the past, there have been examples of members briefing the press with unproven information, to smear the Mayor. When this information was proved to be false, they did not inform the press that the Mayor has been cleared. On one occasion, the smear was repeated in the press.
As long as these forms of cheating are allowed to occur unpunished, the London Assembly cannot claim to be a truly democratic body. This is a huge shame, for the members in all parties who never ever cheat, (not all Labour members do so) and for an institution that does such important work.