Deselected councillors reinstated in a farcical appeals process

December 13, 2010 9:33 AM

When ten Conservative councillors were deselected a couple of weeks ago, I and many others thought that at last justice had prevailed. An panel of senior Conservatives looked at applications from everyone who wished to be a candidate. Some - including cabinet members - were interviewed. Evidence was taken and minuted. They did not reach their decisions lightly, and spent many hours in deliberations.

When those ten councillors appealed against the decision, I was under the mistaken belief the appeals process would be similar to a court of law. I thought those appealing would have to come up with reasons as to why they should remain on the candidates' list. The truth is entirely different.

Before I move on to how the appeals were handled, it is worth noting that because there are so many Conservative councillors in the East Riding, many of them serve on the executive councils in their respective constituencies. This gives them a huge block vote in order to get themselves nominated as candidates. They also hold positions of power, giving them an iron grip which is unhealthy and undemocratic.This is why a new system of selecting candidates has been introduced. It tries to remove the crony-ism and vested interests. It is a pilot scheme, and after this appeals process, the Conservative Party will want to revise its policies.

The process was farcical. None of the evidence from the original panel was presented, and basically the deselected councillors said they had been badly done to, and were reinstated. There really wasn't a point in having the original hearings. They were a complete waste if time. It handed the decision making back to the vested interests it was supposed to be removing it from.

Once again taxpayers will lose out. This now strengthens the leadership's iron grip. Decisions like the one to award Sue Lockwood's pension pot £364,205 will still continue. The lack of openness, transparency, and democracy in the scrutiny process will remain. We can only hope the voters will give these councillors the order of the boot at the elections next year. I am not holding out a lot of hope, as all of them are in safe seats. This is why this appeals process has been so disappointing.When ten Conservative councillors were deselected a couple of weeks ago, I and many others thought that at last justice had prevailed. An panel of senior Conservatives looked at applications from everyone who wished to be a candidate. Some - including cabinet members - were interviewed. Evidence was taken and minuted. They did not reach their decisions lightly, and spent many hours in deliberations.

When those ten councillors appealed against the decision, I was under the mistaken belief the appeals process would be similar to a court of law. I thought those appealing would have to come up with reasons as to why they should remain on the candidates' list. The truth is entirely different.

Before I move on to how the appeals were handled, it is worth noting that because there are so many Conservative councillors in the East Riding, many of them serve on the executive councils in their respective constituencies. This gives them a huge block vote in order to get themselves nominated as candidates. They also hold positions of power, giving them an iron grip which is unhealthy and undemocratic.This is why a new system of selecting candidates has been introduced. It tries to remove the crony-ism and vested interests. It is a pilot scheme, and after this appeals process, the Conservative Party will want to revise its policies.

The process was farcical. None of the evidence from the original panel was presented, and basically the deselected councillors said they had been badly done to, and were reinstated. There really wasn't a point in having the original hearings. They were a complete waste if time. It handed the decision making back to the vested interests it was supposed to be removing it from.

Once again taxpayers will lose out. This now strengthens the leadership's iron grip. Decisions like the one to award Sue Lockwood's pension pot £364,205 will still continue. The lack of openness, transparency, and democracy in the scrutiny process will remain. We can only hope the voters will give these councillors the order of the boot at the elections next year. I am not holding out a lot of hope, as all of them are in safe seats. This is why this appeals process has been so disappointing.

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