Letter from Robin Parker, Leader of Stevenage Liberal Democrats published in Mid Week Mercury Newspaper
I have occasionally wondered about the secret machinations within Stevenage Borough Council’s huge Labour group, so your article about the sudden sacking of ‘respected’ Labour councillor Ann Webb by her local party leader, as Housing portfolio holder, was interesting. Clearly Ann was not respected enough by her own leader – which is a shame, because (as a political opponent) I have always found Ann to be honest, knowledgeable and hard-working for the town, and I thank her for this.
The excuse that Ann had to go, in order to reduce the size of the Executive and thereby satisfy the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) is somewhat lame – the IRP made the recommendation that the cost of Executive allowances should be cut many years ago, and in any case the same cost saving could have been made by reducing each Executive allowance by about 10%, but keeping the same number of Executive members.
I do not know if the fact that Ann asked questions is what upset some of her party colleagues, but she was right to query things. I know how she feels because, as the main effective opposition group at SBC, the Liberal Democrats have been doing so, more or less alone, since 1982 – and we will continue this. It is a pity that more people don’t join us in this endeavour.
Cllr Robin Parker