The leader of Northumberland’s Labour opposition has criticised the authority for ‘shutting out’ councillors from online meetings.

The row follows an email sent out to councillors earlier this month which said only committee members could appear at remote meetings, with others to watch live on YouTube with the press and public.

Coun. Susan Dungworth said: “It was quite a surprise to find that elected members are effectively being shut out of committee meetings, apparently because chairs of meetings find it hard to work out who are members of their meetings and who aren’t when they chair meetings online.”

However, the Conservative council leader Peter Jackson said coun. Dungworth was “trying to make an issue out of nothing” and that the authority “has been successful in responding to our democratic requirements right through the Covid crisis.”