Friday, May 16, 2008

Tories who gave you 78.9% police tax rise vote to gag debate on their actions...

The same Tories who forced through the highest council tax hike in the country today voted to prevent a debate on their actions.

The Tories pulled a show-stopping stunt to block any discussion on the eye-watering 78.9per cent rise in precept passed by Lincolnshire Police Authority. (see my original post HERE).

Labour Leader Rob Parker had tabled a motion condemning the decision to increase the police precept by 78.9 per cent and specifically criticising the actions of the six Conservative County Councillors in voting for such a massive increase for Linco0lnshire tax payers.

The LibDems had also tabled a motion recognising a shortfall in formulae grant for Lincolnshire, but attacking the increase as excessive.

Both motions were published in the Order of Proceedings.

Five hours into the meeting, the debate was called and newly elected council chairman Ian Cartwright outlined how he proposed to proceed.

At this point vice-chairman of the Police Authority, Tory Cllr Barry Young intervened, pleading for the debate to be adjourned. He claimed negotiations between Ministers and the Authority as part of the capping process were at a delicate stage and any debate prejudice the final outcome...

Then, up popped Cllr Martin Trollope-Bellew, the Tory Chief Whip, to support Barry Young, quoting Chapter 13 Paragraph 11 sub section brackets 'd' brackets of the Council's Constitution.

When Rob Parker asked him to kindly explain what he was talking about, Martin T-B was clearly gobsmacked and was unable to quote the actual words in Paragraph 11 etc...

It was left to legal officers to explain that there was indeed an obscure procedural rule that few had ever heard of which allows the chairman to decide whether to allow a vote to prevent any motion from being discussed.

Cllr Ian Cartwright, himself a Tory councillor, instantly ruled that such a vote should take place - and then voted himself to block the discussion.

No opportunity was given for councillors to argue why a debate on the police precept should - or should not - be allowed.

Some might have argued that Barry Young's argument that the matter was being decided by Government Ministers was the very reason to hold an open debate.

But they weren't given that opportunity.

Despite claiming the whole stunt was Barry Young's own personal idea and not a Tory organised hi-jack, every Tory in the Chamber - except one - voted to prevent a discussion on the precept

The Tory exception was maverick Mark Horn of Bourne who is known to be outraged at the Authority for setting such a high precept and has called for Government intervention to prevent the increase taking place.

I believe two of the six Tory county councillors who forced through the 78.9% increase were absent from the Chamber when the vote took place.

The other four who were criticised in Rob Parker's motion - including Barry Young - all voted to prevent today's scheduled debate from taking place.

Same Old Tories, or what?

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