FAIR play to Colchester Council leader Mark Cory for standing by his comments about people litter the town.

He told them, in no uncertain terms, not to “sh** on their own doorstep”. He cares enough to be outspoken.

His comments were not well received by all, however, including Trevor Orton who objected to the tone of his protest.

Mr Orton has every right to express his opinion and how healthy it is that he challenged the leader and held him to account.

This is democracy. This is the blessing of free speech and the chance to hold authority to account. It is a truly precious gift and one we must cherish.

Few would deny the Brexit negotiations are an utter mess but at least we live in a country were there is debate (even if we would wish it now be concluded).

Perhaps now Essex County Council should follow Mr Cory and Mr Orton’s lead. It is refusing to allow petitions against closing its libraries in its libraries.

It argues it cannot collate this information coherently and guides objectors towards the authority’s consultation.

It is true it is consulting, not just closing the libraries.

But surely in a democracy people should be allowed to express their views however they choose.

We must embrace the fact people care enough to protest.

We must praise Mr Orton for turning out on a cold winter’s night to complain because he cares. These are the people who make our town great.