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Posted by: John Brace | 8th March 2017

Was legal advice given to 9 Wirral Council councillors who abstained on car parking charges vote flawed?

Was legal advice given to 9 Wirral Council councillors who abstained on car parking charges vote flawed?

Council (Wirral Council) Extraordinary (Car Parking Charges) 6th March 2017 Part 1 of 2

Council (Wirral Council) Extraordinary (Car Parking Charges) 6th March 2017 Part 2 of 2

Cllr Jeff Green (right) (Leader of the Conservative Group of councillors on Wirral Council) explaining why he is opposed to Labour's plan to increase car parking charges

Cllr Jeff Green (right) (Leader of the Conservative Group of councillors on Wirral Council) explaining why he is opposed to Labour’s plan to increase car parking charges

Wirral Council councillors met on Monday evening, following a request by 21 Conservative councillors for an extraordinary meeting of Wirral Council to call on the ruling Labour administration to withdraw its plans to:

a) increase charges at all existing car parks by 20 pence from next year and

b) introduce car parking charges in Wirral’s parks.

This follows a partial U-turn by the Labour administration on the original proposals, the revised proposals can be read in this Cabinet report.

The decision in that Cabinet report is on hold as the matter has been “called in” by opposition councillors. It will be reconsidered by councillors at a public meeting starting at 3pm of Wirral Council’s Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee which meets at on Monday 13th March 2017 in Committee Room 1 on the ground floor of Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, CH44 8ED.

Prior to the Extraordinary meeting, there was a protest outside and the public gallery was full (standing room only) to see what happened.

At the Extraordinary meeting (you can watch the full meeting in the video clips above), in addition to opposition from the Conservative councillors, the Liberal Democrat councillors also expressed their opposition to the car parking charges plans.

However the sole Green Party councillor on Wirral Council, Cllr Pat Cleary, expressed his support for Labour’s proposals as he said that introducing car parking charges at Wirral’s parks would encourage people to walk or cycle to the park instead of taking their cars.

Wirral Council’s Monitoring Officer Surjit Tour advised the fifteen councillors (plus those who may attend next Monday evening as deputies) on the Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee to not vote (abstain) on the car parking charges matter.

Interestingly Surjit Tour said the reason for this advice was that in his view voting on the matter would be considered pre-determination and specifically referred to one of the Local Government Acts.

However (what Mr. Tour didn’t mention) that legislation in one of the Local Government Acts that refers to pre-determination was repealed and replaced with new legislation in January 2012. It was replaced with Section 25 (Prior indications of view of a matter not to amount to predetermination etc) of the Localism Act 2011 which is quite clear and I quote from below.

“(2) A decision-maker is not to be taken to have had, or to have appeared to have had, a closed mind when making the decision just because—

(a) the decision-maker had previously done anything that directly or indirectly indicated what view the decision-maker took, or would or might take, in relation to a matter, and
(b) the matter was relevant to the decision.

(3) Subsection (2) applies in relation to a decision-maker only if that decision-maker—
(a) is a member (whether elected or not) of the relevant authority, or
(b) is a co-opted member of that authority.”

At least one councillor at the meeting objected to Mr. Tour’s advice on pre-determination as he felt he was elected to represent the views of residents.

At the end of the meeting there was a vote by councillors.

Twenty-four councillors voted in favour of scrapping the car park charges proposals. Thirty councillors voted against and nine councillors abstained.

The topic will be discussed again at a public meeting starting at 3 pm of Wirral Council’s Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee which meets at on Monday 13th March 2017 in Committee Room 1 on the ground floor of Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, CH44 8ED.

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Responses

  1. How could any sane, well-adjusted, competent individual accept legal advice from a person who may be molesting / interfering with / soiling copies of the Holy Bible in tribunals?

    • Well here’s an entirely hypothetical political scenario for you.

      A number of Labour councillors go to the Whip or Leader and say that their residents are angry about the car parking charges and those residents are asking their councillor to vote against the Labour proposals.

      This happens in such large numbers that if they allow these councillors to do this it will be highly embarrassing as the Labour Cabinet would’ve have lost a vote based on a rebellion by Labour backbenchers, which could lead to changes in who does what in the Labour Group.

      So Phil Davies asks Mr. Tour to advise those on the Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee (nine Labour councillors) that to vote would be unlawful predetermination.

      That way those councillors can tell their residents that they would’ve loved to have voted against the proposals, but they received legal advice that to do so would be unlawful and therefore had to abstain.

      Or is the above just the work of a fertile imagination?

  2. G’day John

  3. G’day John

    My G’day John comment came through.

    My insulting of “Phil the Very Very Very Very Slimy, Elusive and LYING Dill” won’t work.

    Ooroo

    James

    Why?

    • Yesterday, there was a brief period when I was updating some plugins on the blog.

      For about half a minute the blog would’ve been in maintenance mode.

      If you (although it’s unlikely) tried to leave a comment at this point, then it wouldn’t have worked.

      If you have a copy of what you what you wrote I suggest remaking it as it hasn’t been received by this blog.

      Alternatively you had internet connection problems of some sort?

  4. G’day John

    I tried again and it wouldn’t work.

    Lets try again.

    It was just insulting “Phil the Dill” and asking what his handicap is, or, does he lie about that as well.

    “Highbrow” has alerted “Sir Git” of another potential (certain) fraud.

    Why don’t they just do the right thing John?

    Ooroo

    James

    “Highbrow” still doesn’t have his letter from “The Dill” from 19 December.

    • This comment worked though.

      In answer to why don’t they just do the right thing?

      I’ll give an example from Cllr Adrian Jones. At a Council meeting he presented two petitions from the public (both of about equal size). One petition was in support of a proposal, one was against it.

      My point being (and I think Cllr Adrian Jones made a joke about it at the time) is that different people want different decisions so whatever decision politicians make it’s going to not be seen as right by somebody!

      • G’day John

        Decisions are decisions as long as they are honest.

        It is the sheer bare faced deceit and lies that make me physically sick.

        History is full of mistakes and people can live with honest ones.

        Ooroo

        James

        They are just crud and dross John.

        “Highbrow” has found another fraud for “The Dim Wit” to ignore and get the ill-legal department to go along as usual.

        Don’t mention the Lockwood asset stripping John.

        • G’Day James,

          I’ve made literally hundreds of decisions today.

          I’m sure at least a few are wrong!

          I get angry about decisions made the wrong way too!

          However I tend if it affects me personally to do something about it rather than just talk!

          People will behave the way people behave.

          As you know I did warn Kevin Adderley that refusing FOI requests would give the impression that Wirral Council had something to hide and if there had been something hidden, then made public ultimately make it worse both for his reputation personally and that of Wirral Council as it would appear a cover up had taken place.

  5. G’day John

    I met a lot of tax cheats in my time John, some I caught and others and they all put there hands up to irrefutable evidence.

    The galah that is is Adderley and the drongo that is Davies are just unbelievable.

    As for Tour letting them get away with it it is revolting.

    Somehow somewhere there has to be decency.

    Ooroo

    James

    They are crass crud John.

    And, as for the “Blot on the wirral Landscape abusing Leaky at 4.30am what was he doing at that time with whom?

    A consultants beano or what?


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