04:49PM, Thursday 22 July 2021
Self-isolating councillors were left frustrated as they were unable to cast their vote virtually during Tuesday’s full council meeting.
Councillor Josh Reynolds (Lib Dems, Furze Platt) could not attend the meeting in person within the council chamber due to recording a positive coronavirus lateral flow test the day before.
He tuned into the borough’s livestream of proceedings on YouTube but struggled to hear what was going on and was not allowed to vote on issues including proposals for a Windsor Town Council.
He said: “It doesn’t seem right that we should be not able to take part fully.
“If you’re not attending because of a positive test or because you’ve come into contact with someone and been pinged by the NHS app as so many of us have then you should be able to attend virtually and vote virtually.”
These frustrations were shared by Lib Dem councillor Catherine Del Campo, who was also self-isolating, and said it was ‘appalling’ members could not cast their vote virtually.
A borough spokesman said members have to be physically present at decision-making meetings due to legislation for remote council meetings not being extended when it expired on May 6.
A statement added: “The leader of the council, Councillor Andrew Johnson, has written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, on this matter.
“Although many of our meetings are now back in-person, we have continued to webcast meetings for the benefits of transparency and democracy. This also enables members to join the meeting remotely if they are unable to attend physically. They are able to speak but cannot vote.”
The race to get as many people vaccinated against coronavirus has ramped up in the Royal Borough and Slough amidst an ongoing rise in cases across the country.