Tory attempt to unseat council coalition fails

Stroud News and Journal: Tory attempt to unseat council coalition fails Tory attempt to unseat council coalition fails

A MOTION of no confidence in the Labour-led administration at Stroud District Council (SDC) failed to get approval.

It was put forward by the Conservatives, who say they have become disillusioned with the new committee system.

Last year, SDC voted to change from a cabinet system to a committee structure, saying it would mean more members would be involved in the decision-making process.

However, the Conservatives have become increasingly frustrated by what they describe as a “lack of scrutiny” on decisions made, alleging that a lot of decisions were being made outside council meetings.

Conservative leader Councillor Keith Pearson, who proposed the motion at Ebley Mill last Thursday, April 10, said: “It gives me no pleasure to put this amendment forward, but I feel I must.

“We believe this system can work effectively, if committees are allowed to take public responsibility for policy making.

“Recent decisions have shown that the administration has used the committee system as a means of taking decisions out of the public arena and without any form of public scrutiny.”

The Conservative party highlighted the decision to put £1.4 million into Dursley Swimming Pool and the tendering of Stroud farmers’ market as instances where proper scrutiny did not take place.

SDC leader Geoff Wheeler said the Conservatives were not taking advantage of the new system as the largest party, in which they can potentially have the largest number on each committee.

“What has happened is the Conservatives haven’t taken much use of getting themselves involved in decisions,” he said.

The rainbow alliance of Labour, Lib Dems and Greens voted against the motion, with three Conservative councillors abstaining. A cross-party working group set up to make ongoing improvements to the system voted in a number of changes at the same meeting.

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