Tories and Labour reach consensus over council committee appointments

Crawley Town Hall
Crawley Town Hall

A ‘consensus’ over committee appointments at Crawley Borough Council has been reached after a political row earlier this year.

Although the controlling Labour Group has a majority of just one, Conservatives hit out at the decision in May to give all the major committee chair and vice-chair posts to Labour councillors.

Duncan Crow (Con, Furnace Green), leader of the Conservative Group at the council, attacked the decision as ‘undemocratic’ and ‘arrogant’, but Peter Lamb (Lab, Northgate), leader of the council, said his comments were ‘utterly hypocritical’.

Now the council’s Governance Committee has recommended that from 2016’s civic year either the chair of vice chair position of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission will go to a member nominated by the opposition group.

This was welcomed at a Full Council meeting last night (Wednesday October 21).

Richard Burrett (Con, Pound Hill North) said: “Obviously we on this side of the chamber were pleased we seem to have reached a consensus but it’s a pity it has taken so long.”

John Stanley (Lab, Ifield), chair of the Governance Committee, thanked committee members for their professionalism within the debate, and officers for putting together the report.

It suggested that although there was no definitive pattern in other authorities as to whether the controlling or opposing group held scrutiny chairmanships and vice-chairmanships, it was unlikely there would be a true comparison to CBC, given its political composition was so finely balanced.

The report continued: “It was argued by several committee members that it was only fair for the opposition group to hold the position of chair or vice chair, and that such a principle should stand regardless of the political balance of the council or whether a particular group was in control or opposition.”

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