Protestors held a 'Strictly Come Dancing-style' judging competition at last night’s (November 26) Reading Borough Council (RBC) policy committee at the Civic Centre.

Campaign group Reclaim Reading, led by co-founder John Hoggett, hosted the silent ‘Strictly not answering’ protest where the public assessed committee members' answers to questions from the public and councillors to the committee.

‘A panel of judges’ from Reclaim Reading rated members “on the basis of their honesty and courtesy”.

Mr Hoggett said this was an attempt to “improve the accountability of Reading Borough Council and make Council meetings more fun and entertaining for members of the public to attend”.

Prior the meeting, Mr Hoggett said: “At recent Policy Committee meetings we have been struck by how evasive, dishonest, and rude the answers are given by councillors to perfectly reasonable questions asked by members of the public who have taken the trouble to come along to the meeting to have their say.

“Council tax payers deserve fair and accurate answers to questions about how the Council is spending their money and why the Council is making decisions to cut services and privatise functions that we rely on as members of the public.

“This is a fun way of highlighting the shortfalls in democracy and accountability at Reading Borough Council, and we will be working with other community campaign groups over the months ahead to organise further such events”.

Security did not allow Mr Hoggett to bring in large sheets of paper emblazoned with ‘did they answer the question?’, ‘was the answer polite?’, as well as a large scoresheet.

It is council policy not to allow large posters into the chamber during committee meetings, although campaigners did previously manage to bring in a large banner protesting the sale of the Arthur Hill swimming pool.

The protestors were, however, able to bring in small pieces of paper with crosses, frowning faces and ticks on them.

Committee members were asked questions on Arthur Hill, the East Reading Mass Rapid Transit scheme, provision for students with Special Education Needs, and the number of the apartments being developed in the town.

RBC was approached for comment but chose not to respond.