A DISTRICT councillor has praised a Bucks Free Press reporter for challenging a decision to exclude the press while discussing a row between two mayors.

At a meeting of the town's charter trustees on Tuesday night leader of Wycombe District Council Lesley Clarke attempted to exclude the public and press when the issue over the accounts of the ex-mayor's charity appeal was brought up.

But BFP reporter, Lawrence Dunhill, stayed and said a reason for exclusion must be stated and a formal motion passed. Other trustees questioned if there was a valid reason and the press and public were allowed to stay.

Wycombe District Councillor Gary Hall, who was not at the meeting, said he had heard about what happened and praised Lawrence.

He said: “The first thing is the freedom of the press.

"The council has to be seen to be transparent and excluding the press from meetings without a very good reason can be looked at suspiciously by a whole range of people, not least the public at large.

“We have to be seen as open and above board. No council, no matter who they are, is entitled to act in that way.”

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