THE leader of a borough council has denied rumours that he will be doing away with letting the public directly question the Cabinet.

Coun Peter Britcliffe said he will not scrap Cabinet Question Roadshow despite fears from Labour councillors that he plans to do so because he is bringing back Leader's Questions.

"If he is bringing back Leaders Questions it sounds like he is getting rid of the roadshows, and that's wrong," said Coun David Myles.

The roadshow was introduced by the last Labour administration a year ago and gives people a chance to directly question Cabinet members for an hour before area council meetings or at an extra meeting.

Leaders questions is similar to Prime Ministerial Question Time in Parliament and involves individual councillors questioning the leader of the borough council at full council meetings.

Coun Myles said they scrapped Leader's questions in favour of the roadshows because the public could not ask the leader direct questions in a full council meeting, only councillors, and the roadshows empowered people.

"If he is bringing back Leader's Questions it sounds like he is getting rid of the roadshows, and that's wrong. He will use Leader's Questions for his own ends and as a political platform, it is just a complete waste of time.

"We brought in the roadshows because we felt it was a good idea to listen to the people of Hyndburn. We went around every area council so people could question what policies we have.

"At the end of the day we have been elected by the people of Hyndburn and it is important that we represent them. We also had a budget roadshow to ask people what they would consider what a reasonable amount of council tax would be. Will he get rid of that as well?"

Coun Britcliffe said: "We have not said we are scrapping the Cabinet Roadshow, where an area council wants us to go we will go.

"I am bringing back leader's questions because the leader has to be responsible to the whole council. In the system that we have now there is no opportunity for a backbencher to question the leader, but with leader's question time it provides this opportunity.

"It will last 20-25 minutes and the leader of the opposition is allowed to ask three questions."