Yesterday night at Full Council, the Labour group supported a motion that condemned the lack of consideration shown to Brent residents given that this department serves people living in the poorest part of Brent.
Sadly, the Brent Council Lib Dems and Tories both failed to support the motion and voted against it. It is worth noting that there were a couple of Lib Dem Councillors, namely Barry Cheese and Ann Hunter that did at least abstain and could not bring themselves to vote against the motion.
However, the erratic behaviour of Lib Dem Leader Cllr Paul Lorber during the debate of the motion sent shockwaves in the Council Chamber. He claimed that A&E is mostly for drunk people anyway and chose to attack me for being “relatively new” and “inexperienced” rather than address the arguments I made in the debate about meeting the needs of the poorest in the Borough and the concerns that residents in Brent were raising over A&E closure.
What’s more, is that Brent Tory Cllr Reg Colwill joined in with his contribution to the debate.
Such age discriminatory comments are very out of touch and perhaps shows the greater need to have more young people in elected and prominent positions and change the age demographic and profile of Councillors.
I’m sure there would have been a formal punishment had it been a younger Councillor making a similar derogatory comment based on age to an elderly Councillor.
This is proof that there is a lot of progress to be made in changing the attitudes and mindset of Councillors as well as wider society towards young people.
Last night, on the agenda at the Forward Plan Select Committee were call ins of Executive decisions on the land use at Coniston Gardens, Waste Strategy and CPZ vehicle emission based pricing adjustment.
Kudos to Councillors Beck and Ashraf who did attend the meeting to convey their concerns to the committee and demonstrated their reasons for signing the call in by actively engaging and asking questions. The same cannot be said about the other Councillors Hayley Matthews, Simon Green, Ann Hunter who signed for the Call In as mentioned by my colleague Cllr James Powney here – LINK.
Councillors signing for call ins and then not turning up are causing embarrassment to proceedings on the committee and the system in general. At the previous Forward Plan meeting, items were on the agenda as called in and then embarrassingly skipped or skimmed over as there was confusion as to what the reason for the call in was.
Surely Councillors that sign to call in a decision should turn up to the meeting they asked for the item to be discussed at, if they are remotely interested in receiving a response.
Are the Brent Lib Dems interested in the detail of policies and providing scrutiny to make policy better or are they just opposing decisions for opposition’s sake?
Let me give you one example of a recent occurrence which has led me ask this question. The 11th August meeting included a call in on the ‘Criteria for Transport Services’ and a reason cited was ‘to review the findings of the Equality Impact Assessment’ (LINK – see item 5b), which at the time had not been completed. To call in decision based on concerns regarding a document which does not exist is beyond me.