A CALL for “greater democracy” in the county council by "webcasting" its Cabinet meetings online was given the go-ahead despite a last-minute “back of the fag packet” proposal by Council Leader Jamie Adams.

At last Thursday’s meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, a notice of motion by Councillor Jacob Williams calling for the online webcasting of arguably the most important council meetings was recommended for refusal.

The matter had previously been discussed at the November 30 Corporate Governance Committee meeting, where the issue of cost for extra facilities needed for broadcast was raised.

However, Cllr Williams said the existing facilities in the council chamber could be used if Cabinet met there, leading to only a small extra cost.

The motion was defeated at committee by seven votes to six, the recommendation not to webcast Cabinet meetings being brought to full council.

At the December 10 meeting, Cllr Williams said objections to webcasting were “lame excuses,” adding: “It’s obvious to me the Leader simply didn’t want the Cabinet to be broadcast online.”

He added: “Cabinet should welcome this opportunity, I can’t see one good reason why this shouldn’t be approved; it will be cost-neutral.”

Leader Jamie Adams said Cabinet meetings, currently held in a committee room, could be held in other locations in the county as a way of engaging the public, which could create problems with webcasting meetings.

He said: “There’s no reason why Cabinet has to be held in County Hall.”

“Give us a free rein and we will go and see the people,” he added.

Councillor Bob Kilmister said: “Cabinet actually makes more decisions than this council does here, considerably more decisions that have considerably more effect on the population.”

“Transparency is the key, do you want the residents of this county to have an opportunity to see what you or do you not?”

Councillor David Howlett said: “The Leader gave the impression he was against it because he wanted to take meetings out; when it’s here it should be webcast.

“If taking it out is such a good idea why hasn’t it happened yet?”

He described anything other than supporting Cllr Williams’ motion as “flying in the face of democracy”.

Councillor Mike Evans suggested the proposal of meetings being held elsewhere could create problems with senior staff members attending meetings.

“This sounds like something that’s come on the back of a fag packet: ‘quick boys let’s think of something we can fudge’.”

Cllr Jacob Williams, who asked for a recorded vote, described the proposal to take to the road as “scraping the barrel”.

The proposal for webcasting was supported by 41 votes to 15.