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Conservatives move to stifle democracy in Wiltshire

September 12, 2012 5:47 PM

In a shock move this week Wiltshire's Conservative Council has moved to stifle their democratic accountability, threatening good government in the county.

The plan, forced through the Scrutiny Management Committee on 6th September, will effectively strip 39 of Wiltshire's Councillors from being able to object to bad decisions made by members of the Cabinet.

At present a group of any three of these councillors can 'call in' a decision if they have enough evidence to believe the decisions were inappropriate.

After this week not even such evidence will be enough to hold the Council to account, as only those councillors on the main Scrutiny Management Committee will be able to call in bad decisions.

Liberal Democrat leader Jon Hubbard said, "This is the Conservative commitment to democracy in Wiltshire, trying to stifle criticism of bad decision-making. Wiltshire Council pays £13,000 per year to councillors, but has removed their power to hold the Cabinet to account for what they are doing. What do they expect these councillors to do now?"

Councillor Hubbard is currently seeking legal opinion on whether the move is lawful.
All the Liberal Democrat councillors asked that their objection to the plan be recorded, including committee chair Trevor Carbin, but the anti-democratic plan was forced through by the Conservative majority.