Expense claim forms for Councillor John Salter 2013 to 2014

Expense claim forms for Councillor John Salter 2013 to 2014

Expense claim forms for Councillor John Salter 2013 to 2014

                             

Councillor John Salter is a Labour Party councillor for Seacombe ward. His five expense claims are all for travel to the Manchester Port Health Authority (which are mainly for trips to Runcorn). During this period he was Wirral Council’s only representative on the Manchester Port Health Authority which according to its website is “the local authority for the Manchester Ship Canal and River Weaver including the ports of Eastham, Ellesmere, Manisty, Stanlow, Ince, Weston, Runcorn, Partington, Irlam, and Salford.” Its website goes on to state “The Authority, originally Manchester Port Sanitary Authority, was established in 1896 following the designation of the Manchester Ship Canal as a customs port.”

I presume the Manchester Port Health Authority runs along similar lines to the Mersey Port Health Authority (which Wirral Council has six councillors on) which I wrote about earlier this year after having attended its meeting in July.

Councillor John Salter’s expense claims (below) are for travel in his car to and from meetings of the Manchester Port Health Authority as Wirral Council’s representative.

Cllr John Salter expenses claim page 1
Cllr John Salter expenses claim page 1
Cllr John Salter expenses claim page 2
Cllr John Salter expenses claim page 2
Cllr John Salter expenses claim page 3
Cllr John Salter expenses claim page 3
Cllr John Salter expenses claim page 4
Cllr John Salter expenses claim page 4
Cllr John Salter expenses claim page 5
Cllr John Salter expenses claim page 5

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Councillor John Salter “when you make a decision you’ve got to do it behind locked doors”

Councillor John Salter “when you make a decision you’ve got to do it behind locked doors”

Councillor John Salter “when you make a decision you’ve got to do it behind locked doors”

                       

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Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee meeting of the 3rd July 2014

Last Thursday Wirral Council’s Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee met and there was an interesting discussion by councillors (and the independent members) on agenda item 4 (the work programme for 2014/15) and its Appendix (terms of reference of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Working Group.

This transcript below starts at about 14:38 in the video above. Apologies for any poor sound quality in the video, but microphones weren’t provided to the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee that evening.

SURJIT TOUR
One example is the issue about filming, the regulations around filming, blogging, tweeting has now become operative and will be operative by the end of this month. So that’s expected there are a number of areas where we need to ensure the constitution reflects some of those changes which are reported… so those are the key areas I’ve suggested which obviously you can add if you confirm areas of work which you feel are necessary around the committee’s remit.

COUNCILLOR LES ROWLANDS
I just have a comment. Over the years I’ve noticed that there’s been less and less public coming in to see our Councils and so forth. This has a bearing on culture as well because when you’ve got members of the public there observing the Council meeting then you know bode for somebody to start shouting all kinds of obscenities across the Chamber. So I think the level of etiquette when I first started as a councillor here was much, much higher than it is today. I think in my own mind that’s part of it because the public was involved.

Is there any way that we can err whether it’s publicising, I realise we can’t drag them in off the street but is there any way that we can work on a project where we can actually start to try and engage in meetings. I mean it’s a great start by having independents but you know participation in the Council Chamber itself ie bringing the public in to view what we’re doing. I just think it’s really sad that that has dropped off and we seem to have lost this connection with our public. We do have our own constituencies but they don’t seem to know what goes on in this Council.

COUNCILLOR MOIRA MCLAUGHLIN
One of the things that came out very strongly in terms of the survey that I’m going to talk about was for Members, as I said open and accountable to backbench Members errm was that one of the ways full Council operates, notwithstanding that and I suppose we’re all guilty at some time or another of that behaviour, absolutely I put my hands up to that, but all of us felt that actually that the way full Council behaves and the idea of a that first one was just to re establish things like standing up when the Mayor comes in, those sort of things that have fallen by the way.

… not being the Chair as I need to be, he or she has that, it’s that kind of very errm basic respect really for first of all for the authority of the Chair or the Mayor, Mayor as Chair and then each other and it’s a culture but if we put our minds to work on that basis, then possibly we wouldn’t be subject to criticism as well, but certainly we wouldn’t be embarrassed to see that happening but it’s a chicken and egg isn’t it?

COUNCILLOR ROB GREGSON
The other Les, I think the timing of what you’ve just said is perfect as well, because in the Mayor’s speech he did say about it, the role of councillors and you know you should revisit how we market ourselves, how we get together and go out. Errm, I think I’ve said about it but I’ll just finish with students, full-time students and you know I was at university talking to many of the younger students who were studying politics and they weren’t even aware that you could just walk in to public meetings and I’m talking about Liverpool, you know we met outside and they drew me on what do you mean, the back cleared area at public meetings, they weren’t aware of the public gallery and obviously that could be an area we could easily promote.

COUNCILLOR BILL DAVIES (CHAIR)
I think that’s a good idea, I mean we could go to colleges and also … I’ve seen colleges go into art galleries and some I’ve seen them … why can’t they come into the Town Hall?

COUNCILLOR BRUCE BERRY
Yes, a bit more on the second point in relation to all that. While I was canvassing, errm I did go up and people were asking me if I could give if some, how many of the meetings weren’t open to the public? People do want to get involved and it’s a case of publicising it, it’s easily done in the press and people do want to attend, I’m sure we’ve even thought about that.

COUNCILLOR BILL DAVIES (CHAIR)
There’s a flip side to that, people might come along and see all the members seated in the House of Commons, Councillor Salter.

COUNCILLOR JOHN SALTER
Yeah, I mean the biggest attendance of anyone from outside is either at licensing or planning and that’s when and I’ve been on both. I’ve been where on planning where we’ve got these two rooms open and absolutely chock a block and Committee Room 1, so you know it’s only when there’s something happening really that they want to come along to, otherwise like anything it’s apathy, they’ll go ahead and do it anyway and that’s the attitude, we don’t.

You know we sit down and we do this planning and on licensing and we have one of the biggest arguments going, behind locked doors, when you make a decision you’ve got to do it behind locked doors to give you a sufficient chance to discuss.

COUNCILLOR BILL DAVIES (CHAIR)
I think as well as I remember, when I came on the Council it was electric the atmosphere it was. Errm, it was almost intimidating really and … the Council things have changed, I mean sometimes I think remarks like we’re watching paint dry and that’s true because things have changed, there’s not a lot of debate going on and if you think about by the time they have question time, then question the Cabinet and so on and before that we … have notices of motion, so things have changed now since I’ve come on.

COUNCILLOR PATRICIA WILLIAMS
If the general public know that the Cabinet is going to make a particular decision, they will turn up and they will make an issue about it and they will make representations about that.

They will also at full Council, if Cabinet have made a decision which they disagree with, you wait and see what happens about Lyndale, other people have clearly came and they speak very strongly about it and there have been times, I’ve been a councillor since 1987, so there’ve been a lot of things happening during that time, but I’ve had to fight my way in to this Town Hall on numerous occasions over these years but I believe now the committee system that we have, with the Cabinet and the scrutiny split and people think it’s a waste of time turning up and once Cabinet have made a decision it is very, very unusual for that to be changed.

So people think ‘what’s the point?’ and once they, once they’ve been here and they’ve been up in the public gallery, when their particular issue of concern has been dealt with. It’s, it’s, they’ve got to really want to be here because it’s not so easy to hear from the public gallery especially when councillors are shouting at each other and being you know disrespectful, so I think you know, we councillors have got a big responsibility to treat each other with respect and also then in mind if members of the public are here we should behave ourselves to allow people to listen, speak clearly and make sure they are welcomed into the Town Hall and you know they’re able to be here, it’s a privilege to be here but it’s also their right you know so we’ve got to make it welcoming and positively encourage people to come in.

Of course the Youth Parliament is a good way to encourage young people isn’t it to know about Council about how they can turn up at any time you know to witness what goes on. So I think a lot of it is in our hands to do something about.

COUNCILLOR BILL DAVIES (CHAIR)
Well, people, well that’s goes for our Labour Party and the party over there, we don’t do business shouting and screaming at each other especially at Council meetings and that’s the way it is. I think all sides of the Council, all parties agree on that.

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Wirral Council takes the view that its rights matter more than Wirral citizen’s human rights

Wirral Council takes the view that its rights matter more than Wirral citizen’s human rights

Wirral Council takes the view that its rights matter more than Wirral citizen’s human rights

                                    

Following Friday’s blog post Wirral Council councillors ban filming at public meeting to decide on alcohol licence for Michaels of Moreton shop, there have been some reactions to what happened.

Councillor Stuart Kelly writes:

Indeed they have Councillor Kelly. As long ago as February 2011, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Bob O’Neill MP wrote to all Council Leaders and Monitoring Officers. He states in his letter “It is essential to a healthy democracy that citizens everywhere are able to feel that their council welcomes them to observe local decision-making and through modern media tools keep others informed as to what their council is doing.” and “the mainstream media also needs to be free to provide stronger local accountability by being able to film and record in meetings without obstruction”. He goes on to write “I want to encourage all councils to take a welcoming approach to those who want to bring local news stories to a wide audience. The public should rightly expect that elected representatives who have put themselves up for public office be prepared for their decisions to be as transparent as possible and welcome a direct line of communication to their electorate.”

In the same letter, the Information Commissioner’s Office stated “In the context of photographing or filming meetings, whilst genuine concerns about being filmed should not be dismissed, the nature of the activity being filmed – elected representatives acting in the public sphere – should weigh heavily against personal objections.” Yet at Wirral Council this advice last Friday was not followed!

Former councillor Ian Lewis states on his new blog “We know most councillors have faces made for radio but their bizarre behaviour at this meeting, over a licensing application in Moreton, sets a new (low) standard”.

So why is Councillor Steve Niblock from the Chair making a unilateral decision about filming on behalf of the three person Licensing Act 2003 subcommittee? Regulation 25 referred to by Ken Abraham states “authority” (which is defined in Regulation 2 as meaning the whole subcommittee) expressing an opinion on disruption, not the Chair unilaterally expressing his opinion and expecting Regulation 25 to apply.

After the public were excluded from the Licensing Act 2003 subcommittee meeting on Friday, I had a talk with the legal adviser to the committee Ken Abraham about my concerns about it and that the public hadn’t been excluded properly from the meeting. This was a conversation in a corridor at the Town Hall in front of my wife, so I don’t think there can be any expectation of privacy!

KEN ABRAHAM (legal adviser to the Licensing Act 2003 subcommittee)
Can I speak to you after?

JOHN BRACE
I’ve had a chance to have a chat to the objector what it was about and he doesn’t have any objections to me filming. Will there be any problems with me filming the decision?

KEN ABRAHAM
Well it would be useful to find out why you’re filming.

JOHN BRACE
OK.

KEN ABRAHAM
because this is obviously you know, it’s a public Council meeting as in a public Council meeting, this is a what’s known as a public hearing, but there are people who attend who are obviously not aware that they’re going to be filmed so and…

JOHN BRACE
My point about filming, I’ll answer your question about why and then talk a bit about filming. The reason why is because there are people that can’t make it to these meetings, whether they’re at work during the day or

KEN ABRAHAM
People can have a look at the minutes.

JOHN BRACE
Yes, but the minutes aren’t published immediately.

KEN ABRAHAM
but then you could edit the filming.

JOHN BRACE
Err, clearly I could but I don’t. Anyway,

KEN ABRAHAM
The issue is that when you were asked to stop filming the other week, you still continued filming.

JOHN BRACE
No, sorry the other week when I was asked to stop filming I did and then we went out and came back in and it wasn’t clear then as to whether that carried on or not.

KEN ABRAHAM
The stopping filming?

JOHN BRACE
Yeah, because if you remember the other week, the meeting started, they were asked the question about objecting to filming. One person said yes, then we were all asked to go out, then we all came back in again and it wasn’t clear as you’ve said it’s not clear when we came back in again.

To be honest I did say things there but he [Councillor Steve Niblock] didn’t want me to speak anyway, so it’s hardly a valid reason.

KEN ABRAHAM
Well it’s not a public meeting, (at this point I link to Regulation 14 (which states it’s to take place in public), link to 100A and 100E of the Local Government Act 1972 which state otherwise to Ken’s assertion that it isn’t a public meeting. In fact earlier in the conversation he stated it was a public meeting.)

KEN ABRAHAM
and you’re not a representative or the, I I I if you want to talk in more detail I can.

JOHN BRACE
I do want to

KEN ABRAHAM
but I just need to, we’re still in the hearing,

JOHN BRACE
I just want to speak to you in more detail.

KEN ABRAHAM
Maybe if we do that after?

JOHN BRACE
The other very brief point I want to make, the first thing is any decision that a public authority makes has, due to the Human Rights Act 1998 to be compatible with the Convention on Human Rights so one of those rights is regarding freedom of expression and regarding the Article 10 right to freedom of expression there has to be a specific power the Council has in law to stop filming and it has to be for one or more of

KEN ABRAHAM
Yes, I hear you. You’re quoting the law, I know the law. We have rights under the regulations too, which empower them to stop a hearing proceeding if there is an issue about disrupting the meeting and the Chair took the view at that time that because it was clearly indicated that he didn’t want filming that he could have asked you to leave the room but he didn’t. As a filming condition to remain, to put the camera off.

JOHN BRACE
Yes, which I did.

KEN ABRAHAM
The licensing regulations are very clear and specific on that point.

JOHN BRACE
Unfortunately the licensing regulations don’t say anything about filming as such.

KEN ABRAHAM
but it talks about, it talks about the, this is why I can’t have a, I can have a discussion but not

JOHN BRACE
The other thing I wanted to say, let me say something. When the public were sent out,

KEN ABRAHAM
Yes.

JOHN BRACE
The law regarding public exclusion, I’m talking about the Local Government Act 1972, states there has to be a resolution and under the terms of [Wirral Council’s] constitution a resolution has to be proposed, seconded and voted on. That didn’t happen.

KEN ABRAHAM
This is a licensing hearing under the hearing regulations,

JOHN BRACE
Yes, but even in the regulations, the licensing regulations, it says they have to consider the public interest in favour of the public [staying] against excluding the public and they didn’t have a discussion about that.

KEN ABRAHAM
There was, there was representations by the Chair, by the individuals attending the meeting and those representations were taken on board. I’ve got to go off.

JOHN BRACE
but you understand my point about the filming issue and the point about the..

KEN ABRAHAM
Well people are entitled to object to that,

JOHN BRACE
and I pointed out I wasn’t filming that side

KEN ABRAHAM
It doesn’t matter, you’re still taking, you’re recording what individuals were saying

JOHN BRACE
Yes.

KEN ABRAHAM
and people can object to that if they’re members of the public.

JOHN BRACE
To be honest, I could just write it down

KEN ABRAHAM
exactly

JOHN BRACE
and type it up

KEN ABRAHAM
exactly, exactly. You could write it up, but at least you know, you know and that’s something that if you’re going to attend regularly, you know, the public needs to be and if it causes disruption at the hearing then we’re quite entitled to say, oh

JOHN BRACE
and can I say there’s also the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations which are going through Parliament and come into effect in a few weeks time.

KEN ABRAHAM
We’re not talking about councillors, we’re talking about members of the public.

JOHN BRACE
but we’re talking about public meetings here, not a public meeting of the full Council. In a few weeks time those regulations will come into effect and they actually prevent the Council from preventing filming at public meetings. They’re in draft form at the moment if you want to look at them.

KEN ABRAHAM
Yeah, well you don’t have to tell me word for word. The regulations are clear on the issue. It gives the Members the leeway to stop if there is a meeting that’s being filmed and the meeting could be disrupted or the hearing could be disrupted, they are entitled to take a view.

JOHN BRACE
Could you show me a copy of the particular regulation or ..

KEN ABRAHAM
Regulation 25,

JOHN BRACE
Regulation 25

KEN ABRAHAM
Licensing [Act 2003] Hearing Regulations [2005], alright and you can actually read the rule, end of story.

JOHN BRACE
OK, but it’s also a public meeting and we have a statutory right to be there.

KEN ABRAHAM
and you have the statutory right to be excluded.

JOHN BRACE
and the thing is right, if I was excluded and asked to leave, I could leave the camera running and leave.

KEN ABRAHAM
No, no, they have the right to exclude you, but the issue has if you’re going to attend these hearings, then members of the public must be aware of that, because they are not aware that you’re doing their filming and we don’t know what’s going to be done when it’s put on the website.

JOHN BRACE
And in fact if I’d answered the question about what the purpose of the filming, but the Chair wouldn’t let me answer it. When I explained it to him he said he had no objection.

KEN ABRAHAM
I said we’d have a discussion, that’s it. We’re not allowing you to have a discussion during

JOHN BRACE
But we’re having one!

KEN ABRAHAM
We’re not having one. Are you aware of the purpose of this discussion? You’re shouting at me!

JOHN BRACE
I’m not!

KEN ABRAHAM
The view that I’m going to take with you isn’t going to change. They tried to make a view on the hearing regulations and you know the people are members of the public and are going to object for whatever reason errm, Members are entitled under the regulations to take a view.

JOHN BRACE
Well actually we disagree on that.

KEN ABRAHAM
Well we’ll agree to disagree then.

Finally I include an email of Surjit Tour sent to me last year.

from: Tour, Surjit
to: john.brace@gmail.com
cc: stephengerrard@wirral.gov.uk
date: 2 April 2013 16:08
subject: RE: filming of public meetings
mailed-by: wirral.gov.uk

Dear Mr Brace

I am on annual leave until 15 April. I am somewhat surprised by your email and letter given that I have asked you a number of times to meet me to discuss this issue.

Furthermore, there no ban on filming as you and another have been filming a number of committee meetings.

I would suggest that no proceedings are issued until I have had the opportunity to respond. I therefore request an extension of time to 30 April.

I await your response.

Please can you also include Stephen Gerrard in any further response.

Yours sincerely

Surjit Tour

Sent from my HTC Touch Pro 2 on Vodafone

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are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify
the system manager.

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www.clearswift.com
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So it seems two of Wirral Council’s legal team have different views on the filming issue.

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Wirral Council councillors ban filming at public meeting to decide on alcohol licence for Michaels of Moreton shop

Wirral Council councillors ban filming at public meeting to decide on alcohol licence for Michaels of Moreton shop

Wirral Council councillors ban filming at public meeting to decide on alcohol licence for Michaels of Moreton shop

                                 

Here is a transcript of what happened today at the Licensing Act 2003 subcommittee meeting. The video of it is below the transcript. Didn’t Councillor Phil Davies state once that the Labour administration was “open and transparent” or has their policy changed on such things?

COUNCILLOR STEVE NIBLOCK
Can I ask that people make sure that their mobile phones are switched off? It’s very important. I’ll also advise you that there’s not a fire drill today so if the alarm does go off, the fire exit is there and march through to the car park over there.

OK, my name is Councillor Steve Niblock, I’m Chair of the Subcommittee this morning. Either side are my councillor colleagues who will be making the decision regards the application. As a preliminary matter, you will be aware that a member of the public is filming these proceedings and I’m going to ask all those present whether they are happy with that to continue and if they are not then the filming will have to stop. So it’s entirely a matter for yourselves as to whether or not these proceedings are filmed. Are you happy? You’re happy.

UNKNOWN
I’m happy.

UNKNOWN 2
Can I ask the purpose of the filming please?

COUNCILLOR STEVE NIBLOCK:
I have no idea.

KEN ABRAHAM (legal advisor to the subcommittee)
If you have got a question to be raised probably we could bring Mr Brace in?

COUNCILLOR STEVE NIBLOCK
I wasn’t going to bring a member of the public in to the proceedings, that they’re not really here as part of the committee and the proceedings. They’re on camera and I have no idea whether actually I can bring them into the committee proceedings of the subcommittee you know as you should know I struggle with that.

KEN ABRAHAM (legal advisor to the subcommittee)
I appreciate that Chair, ok.

UNKNOWN 2
If I don’t know the purpose of it, I’m quite unhappy for filming.

KEN ABRAHAM (legal advisor to the subcommittee)
I accept that.

JOHN BRACE
Shall I answer his question as to how?

COUNCILLOR STEVE NIBLOCK
Sorry?

JOHN BRACE
Shall I answer his question as to how?

COUNCILLOR STEVE NIBLOCK
No!

JOHN BRACE
OK.

COUNCILLOR HARRY SMITH
So we’ve said it like that.

UNKNOWN 3
Could you repeat the question?

UNKNOWN 2
Are you happy for the proceedings to be filmed?

UNKNOWN 3
Yes.

COUNCILLOR STEVE NIBLOCK
Can I ask you to stop filming?

JOHN BRACE
I’m not actually filming that side, so I’m just…

COUNCILLOR STEVE NIBLOCK
Well I’m sorry but I’m asking you to stop!

JOHN BRACE
I want to ask.

COUNCILLOR STEVE NIBLOCK
There’s been no discretion

JOHN BRACE
I know.

COUNCILLOR STEVE NIBLOCK
for somebody, excuse me, there’s been an objection, I am asking you to stop filming!

JOHN BRACE
Can I just ask you what your legal power is to stop filming?

COUNCILLOR STEVE NIBLOCK
No I’m sorry. I have asked you, you need to stop filming. That means stop now!

JOHN BRACE
OK.

COUNCILLOR STEVE NIBLOCK
Stop now!

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For Whom the Tunnel Tolls

For Whom the Tunnel Tolls

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For Whom the Tunnel Tolls

                   

Mersey Tunnel tolls have been decided annually by Merseytravel (Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority), however the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority ceased to exist at the start of this month and was replaced by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (also known by its legal name which is the Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral Combined Authority). The existing Merseytravel representatives from Wirral Council (along with representatives from the other Merseyside Councils) sit on the Merseytravel Committee of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority with the addition of two representatives from Halton.

Wirral Council’s Regeneration and Environment Policy and Performance Committee discussed a motion about the Mersey Tunnel tolls, which had been referred to it by the Mayor at the Wirral Council meeting of the 10th March 2014. Prior to recent changes to Wirral Council’s constitution such policy motions were discussed and voted on by a meeting of all of Wirral’s councillors (of which there are sixty-six). The Regeneration and Environment Committee has only fifteen Wirral Council councillors on it.

The motion about the Mersey Tunnel tolls was proposed by Councillor Les Rowlands (a Conservative councillor for Heswall ward whose term of office ends this year and will probably be standing soon for reelection). Councillor Les Rowlands is also one of four Wirral Council representatives on Merseytravel (the others representing Wirral Council are Councillor Steve Foulkes, Councillor Ron Abbey and Councillor John Salter). The motion was seconded by Councillor Andrew Hodson (who is also a Conservative councillor in Heswall ward) and a copy is below.

(1) Council regrets the recent tunnel toll increases for all toll classes forced through by the Labour-led Integrated Transport Authority.

(2) Council notes that since the introduction of the 2004 Mersey Tunnels Act, sponsored by former Labour MP Claire Curtis-Thomas and supported by Labour Members throughout its passage through Parliament, Merseytravel has accrued over £40 million in surpluses which have been used on their pet transport schemes and vanity projects.

(3) Council also notes that Merseytravel have squandered large amounts of money as can be evidenced by the £70 million failed tram scheme colloquially known as ‘Line 1 to Nowhere’ and its extravagance in occupying a half empty building at No 1 Mann Island.

Therefore Council believes

(a) The consistent increases year on year is damaging Wirral’s economy putting further pressure on motorists and businesses.

(b) Council recognises such increases place a greater strain on tunnel users who have to travel to and from work placing an unfair tax burden on Wirral residents.

(c) Council recognises discount toll schemes/free crossings for local residents already exist in other parts of the country and while recognising that fast tag users benefit from a discount, Council believes that regular users should be rewarded with a local discount scheme over and above that afforded by use of the fast tag such as that announced for the Mersey Gateway Bridge of a “local user discount scheme” with up to 300 free journeys per year.

Council therefore requests the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive to write to the Chief Executive/Director General of Merseytravel requesting an urgent meeting to discuss: if and how the Mersey Tunnels can be reinstated back into the national road network and Tunnel Tolls abolished.

If that is not possible how a ‘local user discount scheme’ over and above that which already exists through the Fast Tag can be implemented to ease the burden on the hard pressed motorists of Wirral.

Video of the first twenty-five minutes of the meeting can be watched above.

The meeting started with Councillor Steve Foulkes asking for legal advice from the “Borough Solicitor” (who is Surjit Tour who wasn’t present but Colin Hughes was present to offer legal advice to committee members) on whether he should declare just a personal interest in the Mersey Tunnel tolls agenda item as a member of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority*.

Councillor Steve Foulkes also pointed out that Councillor Les Rowlands was also a member of Merseytravel and that he “did state he [Councillor Les Rowlands] could take part in the debate”** and asked for clarification over the nature of the interest.

* The Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority had in fact ceased to exist as it had been abolished eight days previously by s.6 of The Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral Combined Authority Order 2014. What Councillor Steve Foulkes probably meant instead was an interest arising as he is a member of the Merseytravel Committee of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

** Whether Councillor Les Rowlands took part isn’t a decision for Councillor Steve Foulkes to make. Councillor Les Rowlands isn’t part of the Regeneration and Environment Policy and Performance Committee but as the proposer of the motion Standing Order 7(6) applies which states “A member of the Council who has moved a motion which has been referred to any committee shall be given notice of the meeting at which it is to be considered. The member shall have the right to attend the meeting and an opportunity of explaining the motion.”

Colin Hughes who forgot to turn on his microphone when replying said, “Yes, I’d declare that if I was you I’d do that.” However Colin Hughes didn’t state whether it was a personal or prejudicial interest, just that Councillor Foulkes had to declare an interest.

The Chair asked if anyone was subject to a party whip (no one replied that they were). The Chair then said the next item was “minutes of the last meeting which was held on the 10th March”.*

*The Regeneration and Environment Policy and Performance Committee hadn’t met on the 10th March, only Cabinet and a meeting of full Council met on the 10th March.

The Chair said they would change the order slightly and have the second notice of motion (on the Mersey Tunnel Tolls) first. He then said (in relation to Cllr Les Rowlands), “I think I’m right, he was here but he’s not here now but Councillor Les Rowlands doesn’t wish to speak to that.” Other councillors drew Cllr Alan Brighouse’s attention to the fact that Councillor Les Rowlands was in fact sitting on the front row with cries of “He’s here” to which Councillor Alan Brighouse replied, “He’s here is he? I can’t see him!”.

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