Dear Sir,

At the last Full Council meeting, all 5 Labour County Councillors on the Town Council left the meeting when newly elected Lib Dem Councillor Michael Stead had a motion to discuss double taxation.

I proved legally, many years before, that Durham County Councillors serving on the Town Council, except in very precise circumstances, can stay and participate in such debates. When I asked one County Councillor why they left they said the Town Clerk advised them, unfortunately for them the Town Clerk overheard them and categorically denied it. Then they said they were told at County.

There was no issue of predetermination, no bias, no pecuniary interest. I am sure that if they ask their County Solicitor, Helen Lynch, she will confirm that they could stay in the meeting, hear what was said and contribute to the debate or, no doubt, the County Solicitor will explain in writing why they could not. This is the contempt that Labour has for democracy.

Cllr. Arun M Chandran