WATCH THE WEBCAST HERE!
Well, I didn’t expect to end up chairing tonight’s Environment Panel but I had to when the Tories all stormed out of the meeting – let me tell you how it came about….
At the end of a quite unpleasant meeting that had seen insults thrown at the opposition from some Conservative councillors, but prior to the meeting being formally closed, Lib Dem Cllr Philip Mynott asked for a matter – the key issue of winter gritting provision and councillor involvement - to be either taken as urgent business or put on the next agenda.
Not exactly an unreasonable request and one that needs to be discussed.
Cllr Sleep seemingly refused this request so I then took to the microphone and asked him if he would put it on the next agenda.
He refused again so I then moved a motion to bring the matter to the next meeting and was seconded by Cllr Mynott
Cllr Sleep refused, more than once, to take a vote on the item tabled and this is not allowed – if a member moves something and it is duly seconded then a vote must be taken.
He then throw what can only be described as “a bit of a wobbler” and said the meeting was closed and stormed out. He joined his colleagues who had also left the meeting before its conclusion.
So, the meeting was then in session with a live motion with only five opposition councillors left. And so we refused to move
We considered that the meeting was still in session so a new chair was elected (Cllr Russell Quirk moved that I chair the meeting for this item, Cllr Sapwell seconded that motion)
I took the chair and asked an officer to take minutes.
Cllr Mynott and Cllr Quirk spoke on the item and then we voted to bring the matter of gritting and councillor involvement to the next Environment meeting.
The vote was won 5-0 with the remaining committee members (Cllrs Quirk, Mynott, Sapwell, Keeble and myself) all voting FOR the motion to talk about the gritting issues that affect Brentwood residents and businesses.
We consider that we acted within the council’s constitution and that the chair did not in refusing to take a vote on an item raised whilst the council meeting was in session.
We consider that the decision to bring this item to the next committee was made within the constitution of the council.
So now we await officer advice as to whether our actions were correct and if our vote was valid.
But even if not, the Tories acted disgracefully tonight and I urge people to watch the webcast and then the “home video” of my time in the chair to see how they act as they desperately try to hang on to power.
WATCH THE WEBCAST HERE!