City council to broadcast debates live City Chambers for the first time

Chambers debates: Cameras to roll in trial next week. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Chambers debates: Cameras to roll in trial next week. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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The excitement of the Olympic Games may be over but gripping coverage of a different kind is on its way.

Live broadcasts from Edinburgh’s City Chambers will be trialled for the first time next week before going live next month, it has been confirmed.

A full council meeting takes place on Thursday and will allow officials to test the cameras for the first time.

They will be able to capture disputes between elected members and votes within the Chambers, with footage stored online serving as a permanent record of them.

Conservative councillor Joanna Mowat said: “As the footage is going to be available to watch later on, it will be especially helpful for those who have a particular issue which affects them.

“It will improve our 
accountability as a council and maybe even the standard of debate.

“I’m sure there will be some healthy competition as to who can come up with the best soundbite.”

Councillors voted to commence a one-year pilot into broadcasting the meetings before the summer break.

The scheme will cost around £30,000 and will initially focus on monthly full council meetings, with the option to extend it to include committees such as the police and licensing boards.

Lib Dem councillor Paul Edie said: “If you have seen Big Brother, you will know it’s impossible to have your guard up all the time.

“There will be some councillors that will come across better than others, but we have some young blood in the chamber and that tends to improve the standard of debate.”

The production team had advised members not to wear bright colours or stripy ties, which will not come across well on camera.

“A gaudy yellow jacket is something that I have never owned but now seems quite appealing,” Cllr Edie joked.