COUNCIL rules on attendance have been changed after a councillor was criticised for picking up more than £2,500 in allowances despite attending just two minutes of meetings in the past six months.

Tendring district councillors must now go to at least one full council meeting or committee which they sit on every four months.

Legally they must attend at least one meeting every six months or cease to be a councillor, but that can be just as an observer.

Deputy labour group leader Garry Calver put forward a motion to change the rules after hitting out at Conservative Clacton councillor Andrew Massey.

Mr Massey had met the six-month rule by sitting in as an observer during a two-minute-long meeting, which meant he was entitled to the £2,586 allowance for that period.

Tory council leader Neil Stock said: “I am glad that here at Tendring Council we now have a constitution which expects more of councillors than the legal minimum.

“Every single member has a role to play in the workings of the council, whether you are the leader or cabinet member, or an opposition ward councillor. Being a councillor is a privilege, and especially when we are provided with an allowance to help us carry out this honourable role we must all work hard to justify that privilege and allowance.”

Mr Massey previously said he had not attended as many meetings after being promoted at work, but he continued to work hard to deal with residents’ issues.