We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Tories Try Every Trick To Avoid Local Democracy

December 11, 2014 3:55 PM

Local Lib Dems led a rainbow coalition in voting for moving to a committee system of governance last night despite Tory attempts to stop the vote from even taking place. Council initially voted in October to form a cross-party working group to investigate the move which would see decision-making powers transferred from the current 6-member, all-Tory Cabinet to a series of committees containing representatives from across the political spectrum.

The report of the working group recommended the move, stating that it would be roughly cost-neutral on an annual basis and would "lead to more effective and efficient decision making" and "increase member participation in decision making."

In a debate lasting over two-and-a-half hours Conservative members attempted to ask increasingly obscure, far-fetched and oft repeated questions in the knowledge that if it wasn't put to the vote in that session that the proposal couldn't be enacted until 2016. For instance, Cllr. Hogg asked "does the Council have a venue that can fit a 15-person committee?" whilst sitting in a room with over 50 of his fellow members. This culminated in the Mayor making the (usually uncontroversial) request that members extend the session until 11pm, a request that the Conservatives voted against en-bloc.

Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr. Fran Wilson said: "It is one thing to disagree over the governance arrangements for the Borough Council but to attempt to deny democratically elected representatives the opportunity to actually vote is totally unacceptable and just goes to further demonstrate why a return to the committee system is long overdue."

Fortunately for democratic accountability and local residents, the move to the committee system passed by 26 votes to 24, thanks to the Lib Dems, 3 members of UKIP, both Labour Councillors and 2 Independents.