I went to watch a meeting of Trafford Council on 26th September. I was invited by Councillor Geraldine Coggins and Councillor Dan Jerome. They are the two Green Party councillors for Altrincham Ward who were elected in May. I have got to know them because I have joined the Green Party and help them with leafleting in my area.
My Dad and I went to the Town Hall in Stretford at 6.30pm. We met Geraldine outside the Council Chamber where the councillors had been having a briefing. Geraldine took us to meet the Mayor, Councillor Tom Ross, in his office. There were other children there too, from one of the primary schools in his ward. We also met the leader of the Council, Councillor Andrew Western. We reminded him that he hadn’t replied to a letter I wrote to him in June about the crossing outside St Margaret’s Church and he asked me to send it to him again.
We then went to see the Green group office and Geraldine and Dan told us what would happen. They took us to the public gallery above the chamber in time for the start of the meeting at 7pm.
The meeting started with the primary school children reading a poem they had written about Respect, which was one of their school values. There were then questions from councillors to the Executive Committee. Almost every question was answered by one Executive Committee member, because they were on the subjects he covers. Each questioner could ask one supplementary question.
After the questions there were debates on some motions. Each motion was put forward by political parties. There was one about women’s pensions and there were people dressed as suffragettes in the public gallery who were there to see this debate. They cheered when the motion was passed. There was another motion about a People’s Vote on Brexit. The Labour and Conservative leaders said that their councillors had a free vote on this motion. This was also passed. The electronic voting system wasn’t working, so councillors had to put their hands up to vote. It meant that we could see how each party voted.
As it was getting late, the Mayor said that everyone had to speak for only one minute. He had a timer and when it beeped he called the next person. There were only two people who stopped talking when their minute was up – everyone else tried to carry on!
The meeting finished at 9.30pm. I met some of the other councillors afterwards. We met Councillor Jane Brophy, who is a Liberal Democrat, and Councillor Sophie Taylor, who is from Labour. Councillor Rob Chilton, who is a Conservative and is Deputy Mayor, helped us find our way out of the building.
Overall I really enjoyed the evening. I liked being able to clearly see what each party thought on the different motions. All the councillors I met were really friendly. I would like to go again sometime.
Written by Eleanor H, Year 8