Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Non-Labour councillors should have enhanced scrutiny rôle

Ioan Richards informs us that LibDem-led Swansea City will tomorrow offer the Labour opposition the chairs of each of the council's four scrutiny committees. That makes more apposite the call by two leading Neath Port Talbot councillors for greater responsibility for opposition members when the composition of committees is calculated later this month.

Martyn Peters and Keith Davies point to the fact that Labour was elected on a minority of the popular vote. Perhaps this will sway the incoming council leader in his proposals, but since it cut no ice with either Margaret Thatcher or Tony Blair on the national stage, one should not hope for too much.

The outgoing leader, Cllr Derek Vaughan, has countered with the same conspiracy theory with which he contested the elections: "they denied residents the democratic right to vote for the political party of their choice by agreeing which candidates should stand where".

Our standpoint is somewhat different. There were three wards in which, if there had not been a Liberal Democrat candidate, a councillor would have been returned unopposed. Now that would have been the denial of a democratic right.

And if Cllr Vaughan was so intent on providing a right for everyone to vote in a Labour councillor, why did his party not provide an opponent to Keith Davies in Coedffranc North?
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