Kington Town Council this week dropped a plan to impose a 'gagging order' on the local press.

Last week councillors agreed to ask the media to refrain from reporting on issues discussed at meetings unless a reporter was present. Otherwise, reports would have to be delayed until the official record - the minutes - were agreed at the next meeting.

The move would have prevented individual councillors from telling reporters what went on at meetings. Two councillors - Mick Turner and Elizabeth Newman - voted against the proposal.

Retired teacher Barrie Trumper, a Kington 'watchdog' who monitors town council meetings, attacked the council's decision.


He protested to The Hereford Times over what he described as a gagging order.

"It has grave implications for the freedom of the press and that of individual councillors and members of the public to exert their right of freedom of expression," said Mr Trumper.

Mayor Robert Hussey said there had been genuine concern that some councillors were 'going off on a tangent' with the media after meetings. That could result in misunderstandings and mistakes, he said. But he conceded the council had got it wrong with its decision.

After discussing the issue with town clerk Esther Rolls, the mayor told The Hereford Times: "We won't be sending a letter to the press. "