Agenda item

Democratic Services Committee Minutes: 13 December 2021


The Mayor advised that the Democratic Services Committee Meeting Minutes from 13 December were before colleagues for noting.  There was however, one matter that was referred by Democratic Services Committee to full Council for a decision and that matter would be put to council members.


Under Item 5 there was a minuted discussion about whether the Committee should recommend that Council appoint a Presiding Member to chair Council meetings as from May 2022. At the meeting, there was a tied vote and the Chair declined to exercise a second and casting vote. 

The matter had therefore been referred to full Council without any recommendation.


Before there could be any debate and vote on this matter, it would, therefore, be necessary for a member of the Council to formally move and second a motion as to whether or not the Council should appoint a Presiding Member.


The Mayor invited colleagues to move a formal proposal to appoint a Presiding Member.  Councillor Hourahine moved the proposal and reserved the right to speak  at the end of the debate.  Councillor Whitcutt also seconded the proposal and reserved the right to speak later in the debate.


Councillor Fouweather raised a point of order, querying whether it was a legal motion as it was not itemised on the Council Agenda.


The Monitoring Officer assured Councillor Fouweather and the rest of Council that this was a valid motion, in line with the Council Standing Orders. The matter had been referred to Council and was referenced in the minutes of the Democratic Services Committee, which had been published with the Council agenda. It was not necessary for the motion to be written down. The motion that had been moved and seconded was simply to appoint a Presiding Member.


The Mayor then asked if any Councillors wished to request an amendment to the substantive motion.  Councillor M Evans, therefore requested an amendment which was seconded by Councillor Fouweather, that further information on the job description and remuneration be referred back to the Democratic Services Committee for further discussion.


Council then debated the amendment first.


Comments from councillors:


§  Councillor M Evans spoke in support of the amendment., The appointment of a Presiding Member  was originally turned down in 2019  because there was a cost to this role and was not sure if it was a fixed term appointment of five years.  In addition to this, it was felt that the role of the Mayor would be diminished and under valued and should therefore go back to the Democratic Services Committee.  At this point, Councillor Evans asked for a recorded vote on the amended motion.


§  Councillor Whitcutt spoke on the amendment and advised that if the substantive motion was passed the details of the role  could be discussed at Democratic Services Committee and would then come back to Council.  The role of Presiding Member would be able to carry out the role as well as their normal duties, similar to committee chairs.  Councillor Whitcutt therefore asked that the original motion be considered.


§  Councillor M Evans asked for point of clarification on whether who could be appointed as Presiding Member.  The Monitoring Officer advised that the Democratic Services Committee would determine who could apply as part of the application process adding that the Presiding Member would be a full time appointment for Council.


§  Councillors Suller, J Watkins and Fouweather spoke in support of the amendment and stressed the importance and elevation of the role of Mayor of Newport and that it was appropriate to debate this at the Democratic Services Committee for further consideration


§  Councillor Harvey mentioned that the Democratic Services Committee Chair referred it to council and added that the role of Presiding Member would be apolitical.


§  Councillor Mudd observed that the status of the mayoralty would not be diminished and that the  Council had applied for the elevation Newport City Council’s Mayor to that of Lord Mayor during the Queens Platinum Jubilee.


§  Councillor Cockeram added that when he was in the role of Mayor, chairing council was very difficult and training as a Presiding Member would be ideal as well as possibly chairing member seminars, consistency was therefore required.


§  Councillor Jordan queried the reported that the salary of £25,000 PA and asked if this was  only for council meetings or would there be other meetings to chair.  The Monitoring Officer advised that it was for chairing the council meetings only. The total salary was £25K but it was an additional £9K a year on top of  a councillors  basic salary, hence £25K in total.


§  Councillor Morris referred to impartiality of the Mayor and that a Mayor should not act politically.  However, he felt it was difficult to decipher what was being put in front of the Council and was in agreement that this should be sent back to the Democratic Services Committee to be re discussed and considered next year.


§  Councillor Spencer supported the original motion as this recommendation could be put back to council again, after being discussed at Democratic Services Committee.


§  Councillor M Evans summed up his amendment and mentioned that if the motion was taken on face value a Cabinet Member could also become mayor and impartiality would be removed.  The Chair of Democratic Services Committee could have stopped the President Member discussion but felt it needed further debate at Council.  Councillor Evans felt it was far too early to consider the motion and requested that a recorded vote be taken to look at the role in more detail.


§  Councillor Hourahine, in his right to reply advised that the recommendation came from the Democratic Services Committee and that it was a straightforward request for an appointment of a Presiding Member. All the questions asked this evening were partially answered in the report and there was no suggestion that the role of mayor was to be diminished and it was hoped that the elevation of Lord Mayor would mean further engagements and opportunities for Newport. All Mayors had done their best in representing the city but not necessarily council meetings.  In compliance, the role of President Member, which came from the WG was a positive move and should therefore not be batted back and forth. Councillor Hourahine therefore asked that the amendment be rejected and return to the substantive motion.


At the request of Councillor M Evans to take a recorded vote on the amendment, Councillors Mogford, Fouweather, Suller, Jones and J Watkins supported the request and the following was recorded:


Councillor Name





Al-Nuaimi, Miqdad


Berry, Graham




Clarke, James



Cleverly, Jan

 Left the meeting




Cockeram, Paul



John Jones



Critchley, Ken



Davies, Deb



Dudley, Val





Evans, Chris



Evans, Matthew




Ferris, Charles




Forsey, Yvonne



Fouweather, David




Giles, Gail



Guy, John





Harvey, Debbie





Hayat, Ibrahim




Hayat, Rehmaan




Holyoake, Tracey




Hourahine, Phil





Hughes, Jason





Jeavons, Roger





Jordan, Jason





Kellaway, Martyn





Lacey, Laura





Linton, Malcolm





Marshall, Stephen





Mayer, David




Mogford, Ray




Morris, Allan





Mudd, Jane





Gavin, Horton





Richards, John





Routley, William




Spencer, Mark



Suller, Tom




Thomas, Herbie



Thomas, Kate




Townsend, Carmel




Townsend, Holly




Truman, Ray



Watkins, Joan




Watkins, Trevor




Whitcutt, Mark



White, Richard




Whitehead, Kevin



Wilcox, Debbie



Williams, David















The amendment was lost as indicated in the table above. Therefore, the Mayor opened the debate on the substantive motion.


Councillor Whitehead felt that the Presiding Member would still be political, however lost the right to reserve his comments at the end of the debate as the amendment to the motion was lost.


Councillor Mayer  the moved a closure motion that the matter be put to the vote without further debate.  The Closure motion was duly seconded and carried by a majority vote.  The Monitoring Officer advised that Councillor Hourahine, as the mover of the substantive motion, had the right to make a closing speech before the matter was put to the vote in accordance with the closure motion.


Councillor Hourahine  reiterated that in his view  a President Member should be appointed.




It was resolved by a majority vote that a Presiding Member would be appointed by the Council as from May 2022.

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