At the Annual General Meeting of Stevenage Borough Council on 26 May 2010, Liberal Democrat opposition group leader, Robin Parker, spoke on 5 separate examples which were forced through by the huge Labour majority at the meeting, whereby Labour, “grabbed everything they could.”
Labour answered none of the points. The Tories said absolutely nothing.
1. They tore up the all party agreement on all party Mayors – see earlier News Release.
2. They kicked the only opposition councillor off the decision making Executive Committee. The Executive system started around 2000. For about 8eight years, opposition Leader Liberal Democrat Robin Parker filled the opposition place – with no discussion or consultation, it has now gone. This means scrutiny of Executive decisions will suffer and that the Executive will simply become a repeat of the secret Labour cabinet held the day prior.
3. Having been told that Labour would insist on taking all the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice Chairs, in fact the Tories were allowed one vice Chair, but no Liberal Democrats were allowed to Chair or Vice Chair any Scrutiny meetings – despite an independent review two years ago stating that more opposition involvement in Scrutiny was desirable and despite a successful chairing of a Scrutiny of Cycling in Stevenage by Robin Parker in 2009.
4. Labour let Tories take the Chair of a local Forum/Committee because they have a majority of seats on it. When the Liberal Democrats had a bigger majority on the Chells and Manor Area Committee from 2004 to 2008, Labour went to great lengths to change the whole constitution of the council to prevent the Liberal Democrats taking the Chair. This is totally illogical, inconsistent and unfair.
5. Labour grabbed the only vacancy as SBC rep on Chells Manor Community Centre with no consultation or discussion, despite the facts that it is wholly in a ward with all Liberal Democrat councillors and that the position had been filled very well by a Liberal Democrat councillor.
Speaking during the meeting on each of these items, Robin Parker repeatedly asked, “What are Labour scared of?”
He also moved the name of Councillor Graham Snell for Deputy Mayor and moved a resolution to re-instate the opposition place on the Executive – but was defeated by the Labour majority.