Councillors told to smarten up

Coun Bob Brierley outside Wigan town hall on his way to a council meeting
Coun Bob Brierley outside Wigan town hall on his way to a council meeting
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SCRUFFY and casually-dressed Wigan councillors have been ordered to smarten up!

Jeans and T-shirts have been blacklisted with the introduction of a new dress code for the town hall’s elected members.

The clothing crackdown was endorsed by full council after a cross-party committee felt that certain politicians’ wardrobe choices weren’t sharp enough for the authority’s professional image.

But the move has enraged some ward representatives who say that it is what they do not how they look that matters.

The code amendment was one of several changes to Wigan Council’s constitution voted through, including the reduction of motions per meeting to five.

That too had caused a stir, particularly among opposition councillors, although the ruling Labour group said the motion-rationing would streamline the decision-making structure.

Leader of the council, Lord Peter Smith, said: “We want to keep local democracy sharp, effective and able to respond directly to the needs of local people.”

But the issue over the standard of dress at meetings touched a particularly raw nerve with some.

Independent councillor Bob Brierley said: “Casual dress should surely be OK for council meetings.

“I usually wear a casual polo shirt. That has become traditional dress these days.

“How far back do they want us to go with this traditional dress code? People around Hindley Green know me to be wearing tracksuits because I’m a hands-on councillor. If people look suitable that should be OK.”

At the meeting Standish councillor George Fairhurst said: “It’s not the clothes, I’m not bothered what people wear. It’s the person in the clothes we should be concerned with.”

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