Gareth Wilson

Liberal Democrat Campaigner for Haddenham & Aldreth Learn more

Chair and Vice Chair of Scrutiny Blackmail

by Gareth Wilson on 13 June, 2012

“Liberal Democrats on East Cambridgeshire District Council have expressed outrage that the council’s ruling Conservatives tried to blackmail the Lib Dem opposition into withdrawing a nomination at the authority’s Annual Meeting. The Conservatives then seized the vice-chairmanship of the council’s Scrutiny Committee for themselves when the Lib Dems did not give in. The Liberal Democrat group proposed Cllr Hazel Williams MBE as Chairman of the council’s Scrutiny Committee, as she had been Vice Chairman for the previous year. The Conservatives demanded that this nomination be withdrawn, and threatened that if a Conservative councillor was not elected unopposed as Chairman they would insist on a Conservative Vice Chairman also. The Conservative majority on the Scrutiny Committee then appointed a Conservative Chairman and a Conservative Vice Chairman. The Conservatives now hold the chairmanship and vice-chairmanship of every council committee. Burwell Councillor and Liberal Democrat scrutiny spokesman Cllr Hazel Williams said: “Scrutiny is an important process in which council decisions can be reviewed and openly considered. On most councils the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee is a member of an opposition party. This makes for better decision-making as it avoids the majority group scrutinising its own decisions. By removing the opposition Vice Chairmanship, the Conservatives are closing the doors on local democracy and reducing opportunities for opposition councillors to challenge what they are doing. Liberal Democrat group leader Gareth Wilson said “For East Cambridgeshire’s Conservative leadership, political manoeuvring like this is becoming a regular event – just as Conservative councillors who stood up for their residents and spoke out against car parking charges have been stripped of their responsibilities. However, the Liberal Democrat group will continue to represent the views of local people, and – as far as possible under the new Conservative-dominated committee – hold the Conservative administration to account.”

   Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>