Friday 9 February 2024

Brent Lib Dems launch epetition to defend democratic decision making

 From the current Kilburn Times


 Brent Liberal Democrats have launched an epetition on the Brent Council website LINK opposing changes in the number of councillors required to call-in key decisions by Brent Cabinet (or senior officers) for further consideration.

The proposal for 'close to '10 signatories is 2 more than the number of opposition councillors thereby requiring Labour backbenchers to also sign. Given Labour members are whipped this is is unlikely although any group of backbenchers can officially sign for a call-in.



We the undersigned petition the council to Oppose any changes to the required number of signatures to initiate a call-in (review) of Cabinet decisions and to support the continuation of democratic scrutiny in Brent.


Scrutiny is an important part of the democratic process.


When Brent's Cabinet is only made up of Labour Councillors, it is important that democratic scrutiny is possible by Opposition Councillors to request a review of Cabinet decisions.


The suggestion by the Labour Leader of Brent Council (Cllr Butt) that the number of Councillors required to initiate a review (call-in) should be raised to close to 10 would make democratic scrutiny in Brent impossible.


Started by: Councillor Anton Georgiou (Brent Liberal Democrat Council Group)

This ePetition runs from 07/02/2024 to 20/03/2024.




Philip Grant said...

I signed the petition, and this is what I wrote when I forwarded the "link" to it to others:

'I have signed this petition, which seeks to retain the number of signatures required from non-Cabinet members of Brent Council to trigger a call-in for scrutiny as five councillors.

I don't agree with all of the petition's wording, as it is not just Opposition councillors, but any "backbench" councillors, who can sign as part of the five members required for a call-in at present. And it is not just Cabinet Key Decisions, but Key Decisions by Senior Council Officers that can be subject to call-in for closer scrutiny.

However, I do agree that, with the present balance of members on Brent Council, it would be wrong to increase the number of signatures required for a call-in to take effect, particularly as there is already the safeguard in place that the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Council's top Legal and Scrutiny Officers, can veto any inappropriate call-in request.'

I'm pleased to see that more than 100 people have signed the petition already, and hope that many more will do so.

Even if you are generally a Labour supporter, there is no good reason* why you should not support this petition. Although it was started by a LibDem councillor, good local democracy is important to all of us, of any political party, or none.

*[Fear of your local Labour Party leader is NOT a good reason - it would only reflect badly on you and on him!]

Anonymous said...

Philip, the Labour Party rules forbade Labour Councillors from calling in without permission from the leader. The consequence can be expulsion. Its all in the rulebook. Therefore, this change to the Council's constitution will stop all call ins

Philip Grant said...

Dear Anonymous (10 February at 23:03),

Thank you for your comment.

If it is true that Labour Party rules do not allow Labour councillors to request a call in without permission from the Leader, that would totally undermine the whole principle of scrutiny. It would also make it essential that the number of councillors required to sign a call-in request remains at five.

Anonymous said...

Brent Council tax payers need to PLEASE vote for non Labour Party candidates at the next local elections.

This Labour run Brent Counvil is wasting our hard earned council tax and ruining our Borough!!!

Philip Grant said...

Further to my comment (10 February at 18:29) above, I'm glad to see that more than 230 people have signed the petition, including a number of people who I sent my email to.

They include supporters of several political parties (including Labour) or none (that I know of). However, I did get one rather sharp email back from a Labour Party member:

'Philip, I will not be signing this petition, as it is quite clearly a party political petition on behalf of the Liberal Democrats.'

And Cllr. Butt's suggestion to raise the number of signatures needed for a call-in wasn't party political?

I think that this LibDem led petition speaks on behalf of all Brent residents who believe in democratic accountability.