A Conservative politician has stormed out of a "barbarous" county council meeting after public speaking time was cut short and a number of IT issues prevented some residents from contributing altogether.

Councillor Nick Field-Johnson, who represents the Burford & Carterton North division, left the full council meeting at County Hall today (July 9) slamming the amount of time allowed for public speaking as "unacceptable".

Oxfordshire County Council welcomed questions from members of the public but the chairman Alison Rooke said they would only be able to speak for 90 seconds rather than the standard five minutes.

Technical difficulties also meant some people who had registered to speak remotely were not able to share their thoughts full stop prompting some councillors to volunteer to read questions on their behalf.

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The chair apologised for the IT disruption and explained the shorter allocation of time as due to concerns arouns getting through the agenda.

Dan Glazebrook was among those to have his speech cut short.Dan Glazebrook was among those to have his speech cut short. (Image: Oxfordshire County Council.)

Speaking out at the meeting, Mr Field-Johnson, of the Conservative Independent Alliance, said: "We’re elected here on the behest of our residents.

"They have a right to speak to us and we would expect to hear from them.

"Five minutes is the norm - a minute-and-a-half is completely unacceptable.

"We’re here to listen to our residents.

"What you should do is cut back the number of speakers maybe on a particular motion.

"But to reduce it to one-and-a-half minutes is not acceptable.

"And I’d ask you to overrule that."

The chamber.The chamber. (Image: Noor Qurashi.)

Ms Rooke said "I feel your concern councillor Johnson" but referred to the monitoring officer for an answer.

The monitoring officer said: "Under the council’s procedure rules you have the discretion to decide who’s heard from and how long they speak so it’s a matter for the chair."

This comes after the council did not even reach any of the motions due to time running out at the last full meeting. 

Mr Johnston responded: "I’m going to go outside and meet my residents and spend quality time with them rather than listening to a 90 second abridged version here.

"I am now leaving the chamber."

Before coming up to take his allocated time, one public speaker said the 90 seconds was "bloody ridiculous".

A number of IT issues meant councillors such as Damian Haywood, Sally Povolotsky, Eddie Reeves and Stefan Gawrysiak volunteered to read out the speeches of certain members of the public who had sent them through.

Commenting on the IT shortcomings, Ms Povolotsky said: "It feels very unfair – if people send me their statements I can read them out."

Councillor Kieron Mallon said the situation was "absolutely barbarous".

Kieron Mallon.Kieron Mallon. (Image: Oxfordshire County Council.)

Council leader Liz Leffman said she thought it was inappropriate for councillors to read out public statements and that officers should do it instead.

Ms Rooke said: "I think broadly you’re absolutely right – yet on this occasion with IT yet again failing us I think it should be an option.

"I am sorry and we will be writing to them (the registered speakers) with apologies as well."