Continued from Council (Extraordinary) (Wirral Council) 30th April 2013 | Revisions to the Constitution Cllr Phil Davies (Labour) speaks for the revisions | Cllr Jeff Green (Conservative) against
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Council (Extraordinary) Meeting, Council Chamber, 30th April 2013, Part 3 (Revisions to the Constitution) Conservative Leader Cllr Jeff Green responds
Cllr Jeff Green: “We remember the libraries, we remember Martin Morton, we remember what you did in closing care homes, we will make sure that these issues are publicly debated whether the Labour Party likes it or not.”
Cllr Jeff Green said the changes would make it less possible for Martin Morton to blow the whistle under the new arrangements and to have it discussed. He said that although [the existing Constitution] didn’t stop it, it did put it on the record and gave them a chance to do something about it. Cllr Green said the changes would stop them even having a debate asking the Administration to explain themselves, which was partly why the Conservatives thought getting rid of scrutiny committees was “inappropriate”. He expressed his concerns about child protection, to a heckle of Luddite from the Labour benches.
Cllr Green said he was supportive of Area Forums, he had asked for a report on them six months ago at the Leaders Board, however the Chief Executive had never felt it appropriate to bring it back to be discussed. The report had gone to Cabinet instead of seeking all party support. Cllr Green felt the process used had been deliberate in an attempt to try to cause division. He felt the proposals hadn’t been thought through, were unclear and that the new area committees would receive a far meagre sum of money [than the existing Area Forums].
On the changes to Council meetings, Cllr Green felt the Administration would ask officers to write a two-sided report, which councillors could then ask questions on. He said that the councillors wouldn’t get an immediate answer, wouldn’t be allowed to ask a supplementary, but at the end the Cabinet Member would answer all the questions in five minutes.
Cllr Green was also concerned about removing the right of councillors to place on the agenda and have issues debated. He had asked how many other Councils don’t allow councillors to do this and had been told “not very many”. He claimed it was only on Wirral that there was a tendency to “pull power to oneself” and “to sweep any opportunity for backbenchers at all to raise issues and have them debated”. Cllr Green finished by saying, “We remember the libraries, we remember Martin Morton, we remember what you did in closing care homes, we will make sure that these issues are publicly debated whether the Labour Party likes it or not.”