'Denied the right to protest' - Councillor criticises Mayor Ros Jones and Civic Office bosses over Prime Minister Boris Johnson's visit to Doncaster

A Labour councillor has criticised Mayor Ros Jones for ‘denying’ the right for elected members and the public to protest against the visit of Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Doncaster.

Friday, 20th September 2019, 12:46 am
Updated Saturday, 28th September 2019, 2:15 am
Coun Tosh McDonald speaking in the council chamber. Picture George Torr

Town ward Coun Tosh McDonald hit out at the mayor and the executive for notifying a ‘VIP’ was coming to the area he represents ‘too late’ via an email.

The Prime Minister had a walk around Doncaster market chaperoned the council’s top boss Damian Allen before he made a keynote speech in front of northern political leaders at Magna in Rotherham on September 13.

The former trade union president and key ally of Jeremy Corbyn said the executive had continually not notified himself and his two ward colleagues about things going on in his area and the latest incident ‘really took the biscuit’.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson with DMBC chief executive Damian Allen (centre)

Coun McDonald also said he asked South Yorkshire Police about the visit and they told him ‘they had no choice’ because ‘it came from Government’.

The councillors address in the chamber was met with agreement with Labour members as he said he wanted the ‘opportunity to the Prime Minister’.

Coun McDonald said: "Since getting elected, a complaint that's been raised over and over again speaking from all three Town ward councillors is we don't get told what's happening in our ward.

"But what took the biscuit is we received an email on Friday (September 13) too late telling us we had a VIP coming and everybody was sworn to secrecy and as everyone knows it was the Prime Minister.

"I am not opposed to the Prime Minister coming to Doncaster, I would welcome it and the chance to protest against him coming and welcome the opportunity to question the Prime Minister.

"Democracy doesn't just mean going to the ballot box every five years it also means you have the right to protest and the right to say things to people they may not like.

"I believe we were denied that and the people of Doncaster were also denied.

"I don't believe they were part of his ministerial duty and I think it was party political engineering."

Mayor Ros Jones issued a short response and said: "I didn't have the right to say no and I put out to the ward members as soon as I was able which was sent out by my office at 10.20am."