The Conservative councillors on the General Purposes Committee were amazed to see Labour councillors ‘walk out’ of the meeting last Tuesday during the Review of the Constitution.
Bearing in mind, the G P Committee were instructed by Full Council in June, to review the current Constitution and a number of ideas were put forward at that time.
It was clear that the Labour councillors had not prepared for the meeting and they had little constructive contribution to make.
However, the Labour councillors were given ample opportunity to make comments on every item in the 109-page report.
Following the June council meeting, one would have expected Cllr Phillips to have had informal discussions with council officers about the Constitution, so that he could put his points of view, but, it can only be assumed he refused to do so.
If Cllr Frank Phillips and the other Labour councillors had stayed for all the meeting, they would have discovered that a number of the ideas put forward by their group leader were being recommended for approval.
For example, the requirement for lead members to attend scrutiny meetings except in exceptional circumstances, when a written report would be provided.
Review of scrutiny arrangements would be set for at least two years and a named senior employee of the council would have scrutiny as a part of their job description.
In addition all decisions of the council executive, with just a few exceptions, would be subject to review by the Scrutiny Committee on which Labour would have eight members.
The recommendations decided by the Committee will go before the Full Council in December, for further debate and final decision.
It would be good if Labour members stay and not throw their toys out of the pram and disappear again.
Cllr Margaret Orchard
Vice Chairman G.P Committee