The lack of democracy in ERYC has its roots inside the Conservative Party

February 07, 2011 5:38 PM

The internal shenanigans inside the ruling Conservative group on East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) do not seem to be going away. Last year, I wrote about how ten senior councillors were de-selected, only for them to be re-reselected after a farcical appeals process. It seems as if the repercussions are still reverberating their way around County Hall as candidates are adopted in their respective wards.

Cllr Gary Shores was one Conservative councillor who broke ranks and joined us on a protest outside County Hall last May. He was disgusted at the obscene £364K payout to outgoing Corporate Resources Director, Sue Lockwood. Not long after that, he was removed from two scrutiny committees. To the best of my knowledge, a reason was not given.

Cllr Shores, who currently represents the Minster and Woodmansey ward in Beverley, decided to seek selection in another ward, Beverley Rural. One of that ward's sitting councillors is Stephen Parnaby, the council leader. There were open hustings and any party member who lives in the ward was invited to participate and vote for who they wanted as Conservative candidates.  Then the decision from that meeting went to the executive council of Beverley and Holderness Conservative Association. Normally, the decisions of the branches are rubber stamped, but we don't live in normal times. Instead, the executive decided to stick with the other two choices, and remove Cllr Shores as the third candidate for the ward. No reason has as yet been given, and Cllr Shores found out officially in a letter on Saturday morning. I say officially, because he received a call from the Hull Daily Mail on Friday evening, telling him of the result and asking for a quote.

Cllr Shores has already been through a rigorous vetting procedure to get his name on the approved list of candidates. He was also the parliamentary candidate at the last election for Alan Johnson's seat, Hull West and Hessle. There doesn't appear to be any skeletons in his closet  and the only thing he can be accused of is he speaks his mind and at times criticises the leader of the council.

None of this surprises me. I have said before, if you are a Conservative councillor and criticise the leadership of ERYC, instead of being in the Tory fold, you are left out in the cold. This is what has happened to Cllr Shores, who now doesn't have a seat to contest at the elections in May.

There is something very wrong when in an open and democratic forum, members vote for candidates, only to find their wishes overruled for no good reason. The problems that exist inside ERYC (the lack of openness and transparency, to name but two) have their roots inside local Conservative Associations. As the East Riding of Yorkshire is 'true blue', local Tories feel they have the right to rule. Until that mentality changes, and democracy and transparency moves into its place, nothing will change in the way the council is governed. Money will continue to be wasted, council tax will continue to be high, and the public will continue to be cheated.The internal shenanigans inside the ruling Conservative group on East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) do not seem to be going away. Last year, I wrote about how ten senior councillors were de-selected, only for them to be re-reselected after a farcical appeals process. It seems as if the repercussions are still reverberating their way around County Hall as candidates are adopted in their respective wards.

Cllr Gary Shores was one Conservative councillor who broke ranks and joined us on a protest outside County Hall last May. He was disgusted at the obscene £364K payout to outgoing Corporate Resources Director, Sue Lockwood. Not long after that, he was removed from two scrutiny committees. To the best of my knowledge, a reason was not given.

Cllr Shores, who currently represents the Minster and Woodmansey ward in Beverley, decided to seek selection in another ward, Beverley Rural. One of that ward's sitting councillors is Stephen Parnaby, the council leader. There were open hustings and any party member who lives in the ward was invited to participate and vote for who they wanted as Conservative candidates.  Then the decision from that meeting went to the executive council of Beverley and Holderness Conservative Association. Normally, the decisions of the branches are rubber stamped, but we don't live in normal times. Instead, the executive decided to stick with the other two choices, and remove Cllr Shores as the third candidate for the ward. No reason has as yet been given, and Cllr Shores found out officially in a letter on Saturday morning. I say officially, because he received a call from the Hull Daily Mail on Friday evening, telling him of the result and asking for a quote.

Cllr Shores has already been through a rigorous vetting procedure to get his name on the approved list of candidates. He was also the parliamentary candidate at the last election for Alan Johnson's seat, Hull West and Hessle. There doesn't appear to be any skeletons in his closet  and the only thing he can be accused of is he speaks his mind and at times criticises the leader of the council.

None of this surprises me. I have said before, if you are a Conservative councillor and criticise the leadership of ERYC, instead of being in the Tory fold, you are left out in the cold. This is what has happened to Cllr Shores, who now doesn't have a seat to contest at the elections in May.

There is something very wrong when in an open and democratic forum, members vote for candidates, only to find their wishes overruled for no good reason. The problems that exist inside ERYC (the lack of openness and transparency, to name but two) have their roots inside local Conservative Associations. As the East Riding of Yorkshire is 'true blue', local Tories feel they have the right to rule. Until that mentality changes, and democracy and transparency moves into its place, nothing will change in the way the council is governed. Money will continue to be wasted, council tax will continue to be high, and the public will continue to be cheated.

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