COUNCILLORS staged a walk out at a meeting of Dorset County Council in protest at an apparent refusal to listen to a motion calling for an urgent review in relation to the cutting of bus services.
Members of the Liberal Democrat group on the council walked out for ten minutes after their attempts to put forward a motion calling for an urgent review of the prioritisation of resources in relation to the cutting of subsidies for bus services was unsuccessful.
Leader of the Lib Dem group Janet Dover proposed the motion and claimed to have the support of Lib Dem MP Annette Brooke.
She accused the council of imposing a gagging order after the council chairman John Wilson refused to allow a debate on the matter.
Cllr Dover said: “We requested that this was considered urgently in the form of a motion to council today.
“It is unprecedented for a motion like this to be refused.
“Other parties have motions accepted. Why has this motion been gagged?”
Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for West Dorset and fellow county councillor Ros Kayes successfully campaigned to save the 47 bus connecting Bridport to Yeovil on the basis of the vital service it provides to rural communities, students and commuters.
She said: "The case of the 47 bus shows that where the council provides a subsidy, commercial providers can be encouraged to fill in some of the gaps.”
Cllr Kayes added: “When cuts have produced real problems, as they have with many of the rural communities in question, then it behoves the council to look again.”
Council leader Spencer Flower said that not all Lib Dem councillors had walked out and back the approach taken by the council chairman in refusing the motion.
He said: “The chairman of the council exercised his authority over the meeting and did not allow the motion as it talks about an urgent review of the prioritisation of resources in relation to the cutting of subsidies for bus services.
“It was not very long ago that we did all of that and did it with the good will of the bus operators and retendering isn’t until 2016.”
Cllr Flower said that the council subsidised bus routes in the county to the tune of around £2million.
He added that the council had agreed that the basis of the motion put forward by Cllr Dover would go to the authority’s environment overview committee meeting in October, where the concerns can be looked at in further detail.