Should it be easier for people to get petitions debated by Wakefield council?

Councillor Tom Gordon, the local authoritys sole Liberal Democrat member, says that 15,000 signatures is too high a threshold and wants the number cut to 5,000.
Councillor Tom Gordon, the local authoritys sole Liberal Democrat member, says that 15,000 signatures is too high a threshold and wants the number cut to 5,000.

The number of signatures required to force a petition to be debated by Wakefield Council has been branded ‘ludicrous’.

Councillor Tom Gordon, the local authority’s sole Liberal Democrat member, says that 15,000 signatures is too high a threshold and wants the number cut to 5,000.

He pointed to the fact that a petition to Parliament takes 10,000 signatures to trigger an official response, though only those with 100,000 signatures or more prompts MPs to debate it.

Any petition to the local authority which garners enough support to trigger a debate entitles the organiser to give a three minute presentation to councillors, who can then decide how the issue should be dealt with.

But Coun Gordon, who was elected May, has said it should be easier for taxpayers to start debates in the council chamber.

The ruling Labour group responded by saying that all petitions from residents were welcome, regardless of how well they were supported.

Coun Gordon, inset, said: “Residents want to know that we are discussing issues that matter most to them.

“It is absolutely ludicrous is that under the current council rules it requires more signatures to get the council to acknowledge and debate a petition here in Wakefield than it takes for a petition to get an official response from Parliament.”

The issue will be debated at a full council meeting later this month. Criteria details for a petition are available on Wakefield Council’s website.