CONDUCT of Sheffield councillors has come under fire - with complaints about some members reading newspapers, books and magazines, texting, emailing, and even falling asleep during meetings.
Party leaders have pledged to crack down on the problem following a complaint by the Federation of Small Businesses.
Gordon Millward, the federation’s regional chairman, presented a petition to the full council meeting on Wednesday calling for an inquiry into whether Sheffield City Airport should be reopened.
Ruling Labour councillors rejected the need for an inquiry into the airport - and said it was a private business matter.
But Mr Millward said: “Few of the elected councillors troubled to listen to anything that was said.
“The man reading the TV Times certainly didn’t, nor the five or six who were catching up on their emails, not to mention the ones who spent the entire session texting.
“The only sign of engagement was when the party leaders hauled on the pulleys which hoisted the collective arms of their parties’ adherents in the air to vote.”
During debates on the airport petition, and a following discussion about the future of libraries, councillors were seen falling asleep, reading or using their mobile phones rather than paying attention.
Lord Mayor, Coun John Campbell, said: “As chair of the council, I would expect council members to ensure that they behave appropriately and give the meeting agenda their fullest attention.
“I will, of course, remind members of this at future full council meetings.”
Labour deputy council leader, Coun Harry Harpham, said: “I will certainly be making my group aware of this issue and reminding them that they are there to represent the people.
“Councillors get casework and sometimes have to answer emails during full council, but should nevertheless give their full attention.”
Lib Dem opposition leader, Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, said: “I will be taking up this issue with my side.”