Knitting councillor sparks meeting debate

Dallas yarn bombers decorate historic space

A councillor who decided to bring her knitting along to a meeting has sparked debate in the Cornish town of Liskeard.

During the first Liskeard Town Council meeting following the local elections, which saw splinter group Open Liskeard take nine of the 15 available seats, a pair of knitting needles were at the centre of a heated exchange between the town mayor and the new councillors.

The Cornish Guardian reports that newly-elected Open Liskeard councillor Rachel Brooks began knitting, only to be accused by town mayor Tony Powell of disrespecting the council and the local electorate by doing so.

Mrs Brooks replied: "I certainly don't mean any disrespect but I find it helps my concentration," to which Mr Powell questioned: "Does that mean that anyone can bring a hobby to the table?"

Town councillor and Cornwall councillor for Liskeard East Sally Hawken jumped to her colleagues defence and asked the council to be non-judgemental about the issue.

Mr Powell then requested that she stand when addressing the council, before Ms Hawken proceeded to cite equality rights, adding that if knitting at her seat helped Mrs Brook to concentrate then she should be able to continue.

Open Liskeard town council and Cornwall councillor for Liskeard North Roger Holmes then added: "I have been a councillor here for years and I do not see any difference to doodling on a piece of paper."

Following these comments the meeting carried on and Mrs Brooks chose to continue her knitting undeterred by the debate.

The newly elected council has since voted Susan Pike as the new town mayor, with Phil Seeva as her deputy. Both of these individuals are members of Open Liskeard.

Tony Powell will now sit on the committee with six other members of the council, including experienced and newly-elected individuals.

Committee member Lorna Shrubshole concluded the meeting by saying that the changes were an opportunity "to look at what we have been doing and to see whether we feel there may be a different way that we can best represent our townsfolk".

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