James Powney, ex Brent Labour councillor, has returned to the matter of the changes in Scrutiny voted through by the Full Council on June 4th with no comments or questions from Labour backbenchers.
Here is an extract from his hard-hitting posting about the Labour Group meeting LINK:
Neither Cllr Butt nor anyone else chose to mention the drastic changes to the Council Constitution which he at least must have known about.The claim that 'no one in the Labour Group had chosen to read the changes' is interesting. The day before the Full Council I emailed a selection of councillors from all parties with the following message:
Why therefore did the entire Labour Group simply nod them through? I asked a councillor this, and was told that no one in the Labour Group had chosen to read the changes and therefore they did not really know what they were voting on. If true, that statement is a fairly damning comment on the thoroughness with which councillors prepare for meetings. When the Tories pointed out the content of the rule changes, the inevitable partisan instincts kicked in and the Labour councillors all voted for them.
Had I been there I would have argued for deferral on the grounds that most of the councillors didn't understand what they were being asked to vote for because parts (eg describing scrutiny arrangements) are just obscure, and parts have sersious implicationms which new councillors simply won't understand until they are given some sort of grounding in Council governance.
Cllr Butt has effectively tricked his colleagues. I hope they return to the issue at a later date, when they have had time to think about it.
The only councillor who really questioned the changes and pointed out the issues was John Warren, leader of the Brondesbury Park Conservative Group.Dear Councillor,
First of all congratulations on your election as a Councillor for 2014-18. With a Council returned with a large majority it is important that there is effective scrutiny in place with backbenchers playing a full part. Effective scrutiny protects against bad decision making and also protects against the damage to the Council's reputation that could be caused by poor decision making.
There has been extensive coverage on Wembley Matters of the proposed changes tabled for Wednesday which have not had full discussion, tabled as they are just two weeks after the election and with many new councillors elected.
Effective scrutiny is a matter for all political parties on the Council and I suggest that you read the pieces below and consider referring back the proposals to allow for the provision of more details and to allow for proper discussion.
I understand that disquiet is now developing in the Labour Group with newly elected councillors complaining about the lack of discussion beforehand. A source suggests that there is a possibility of a review although there may be some constitutional impediment to the reversal of a policy recently adopted by Full Council.